Novel R&D tool to unravel genetic diseases in Africa

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A new research tool — genomics array — developed specifically for genomic and epidemiological research in Africa could enable researchers efficiently look at genetic diversity of African populations.

Africa is the birthplace of human evolution, and has the highest amount of genetic variation but most existing genotyping tools are for European populations, according to Julie Collens, who is responsible for market development within Illumina, a US-based organisation involved in genomics research and the development of the tool.

“This tool will not only be critical for understanding African diversity and how that correlates to disease [in Africa], but could potentially improve our understanding of disease and diversity in other global populations,” Collens adds.

Collens told SciDev.Net last month (16 December) that members of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) consortium selected content from samples previously obtained from Africa and evaluated with more comprehensive genome sequencing with support from UK’s Wellcome Trust and the US National Institutes of Health.

“The objective,” she said, “was to characterise genomic diversity in African populations and to try to understand how the genomics relates to diseases and disorders that affect these populations.”

Source: SciDev (link opens in a new window)

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