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New tool for African genomics

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in Africa are not as straightforward as such research among populations of people of European or Asian ancestry, because African populations are much more genetically diverse. But researchers studying malaria resistance in western Africa say they've found a way to make African GWAS work. An international team of researchers report in this week's issue of __Nature Genetics__ that it's possible to perform genome-wide studies to probe for genes behind disease

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in Africa are not as straightforward as such research among populations of people of European or Asian ancestry, because African populations are much more genetically diverse. But researchers studying malaria resistance in western Africa say they've found a way to make African GWAS work. An international team of researchers report in this week's issue of __Nature Genetics__ that it's possible to perform genome-wide studies to probe for genes behind disease in the highly diverse African genomic landscape by combining GWA data, which identify disease-associated regions of the genome, with more specific, robust sequencing data -- like those gathered by the 1000 Genomes Project. "We need to investigate the African population, but it is intrinsically more difficult to study because of its genetic heterogeneity," said linkurl:Pablo Gejman,;http://nuin.northwestern.edu/nuin-content/faculty-records/pablo-v-gejman/?searchterm=gejman director of the Center for Psychiatric Genetics at the North Shore University Health System in Evanston, Ill. The study "shows...

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