Posts Tagged ‘genomics’

Genetics Study Focuses 96% European Descent Leaving the Rest of the World Behind

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

(Current) Genomics research, in which researchers scan subjects' DNA in search of the genetic basis of many diseases, has focused too narrowly on studying subjects of European descent, write a team of genetics experts in the journal Nature this week.

The Los Angeles Times spoke with one of the authors of the piece, Stanford population geneticist and 2010 MacArthur Fellow Carlos D. Bustamante, about why scientists should focus on sequencing genomes of people from other ethnic groups, too.

This commentary stems from conversations [coauthors] Esteban [Gonzalez Burchard], Francisco [De La Vega] and I have been having over the past couple of years. How do we think about taking a lot of what’s been in development in European populations and apply it to other populations?

Genome-wide association studies — when you go out and take individuals with a disease and those without and find genetic changes that predict who is in which group — have been very successful. The vast majority of those studies have been conducted with subjects of European descent.

Now there’s also a burgeoning explosion of these in East Asian populations, led in part by the BGI (formerly Beijing Genomics Institute) in Shenzhen, China, which we mention in the Nature commentary.

But the rest of the world is being left behind, and we view that as problematic. Something like 96% of the participants in medical genomics studies are of European descent. It’s a hugely lopsided representation.

Here in the U.S. some of the people with the worst health outcomes are members of minority populations.

Full story…

Subscribe to RSS feed