GPS was found to be both sensitive and specific. For example, in admixed populations such as Kuwaitis, it identified the countries of origin (Saudi Arabia and Iran), not just their current location. In the case of Sardinians, it placed a quarter of them within their villages. "We expect the incredible abilities of GPS to become useful in forensics, allowing us to help lost people find their way home," says Elhaik.
According to the researchers, in ethnically diverse regions like the U.S., where many people know only a few generations of their descendants, this kind of screening has important medical implications. Discovery of a certain genotype might indicate the potential for a genetic disease and suggest that diagnostic testing be done. Also, as scientists learn more about personalized medicine, there is evidence that specific genotypes respond differently to medicationsmaking this information potentially useful when selecting the most effective therapy and appropriate dosing. The investigators are currently designing a study to correlate pharmacokinetics, the time course of drug metabolism, with genotype.
Genetic diseases are not the only driving force behind the development of GPS, according to Tatarinova. With a growing interest in the field of genealogy, more and more individuals are seeking information on their ancestral roots. Tatarinova has developed the website http://www.prosapia.org to allow anyone who previously obtained a DNA genotype to use the GPS tool to find their country or even village of origin.
|Contact: Ellin Kavanagh|
Children's Hospital Los Angeles