Human Genomic Variation: Breakthrough of 2007

The journal Science recognized the technology to recognize the human genetic diversity as the breakthrough of 2007. It indeed is amazing that now we know that humans and chimps have very similar DNA. The difference is not in the number of genes but how the genes are regulated. Scientists are also working to sequence full Neanderthal genome and initial reports of success have already been published (see Svante Paabo’s papers).

Even in the area of human evolutionary biology, genes are beginning to show impact. We have the HapMap project which can be used to trace origins and adaptations of various human populations. The genetic data along with the fossils have almost confirmed humans originated from Africa. We also know so much about how our genetic make up influences susceptibility to diseases. Now, there are even companies (such as 23andMe that I have mentioned earlier) that can provide individual genetic report for a small cost!

Indeed it is a breakthrough and a lot more is yet to come.


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