Navigation Links
Tiny differences in our genes help shed light on the big picture of human history
Date:4/29/2009

By examining very small differences in people's genes, scientists from Cornell University have developed a new tool for identifying big events in human history and pinpointing the origins of specific gene mutations. This research, published in the May issue of the journal GENETICS (http://www.genetics.org), helps shed light on times when the human population moved close to extinction and helps scientists close in on gene mutations that make some demographic groups more likely to develop diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, among others.

"We know that many diseases are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors," said Kirk E. Lohmueller, one of the researchers involved in the work from Cornell University. "To find the genes that contribute to disease, it's very helpful to know the demographic history of the population being studied. Accurate estimates of population events help inform the search for mutations that might have been helpful and necessary for survival at the time, but no longer necessary and potentially harmful today."

In their work, Lohmueller and colleagues confirmed the existence of a major decline in European populations (called a "bottleneck") 32,500-47,500 years ago. They used computer simulations to model the expected correlation among segments of DNA containing very small genetic mutations that only involve a single letter of the genetic code (called "single nucleotide polymorphisms" or SNPs). Prior to this development, methods used to identify major population events relied on the frequency patterns of individual SNPs, while ignoring the patterns of specific groups of SNPs. This work shows that looking at groups of SNPs helps us better understand what happened long before there was a human historical record.

"When we think of the past, we often think in terms of the historical or geological records," said Mark Johnston, Editor-in-Chief of the journal GENETICS. "What makes this development so amazing is that it helps align these records with an emerging biological record based on our DNA. This technique can be applied to any species, making it possible for us to learn and compare the biological histories of all living creatures."


'/>"/>

Contact: Tracey DePellegrin Connelly
td2p@andrew.cmu.edu
412-268-1812
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. St. Jude influenza survey uncovers key differences between bird flu and human flu
2. Claims of sex-related differences in genetic association studies often not properly validated
3. Genetic differences in clover make one type toxic
4. Analysis of breast and colon cancer genes finds many areas of differences between tumors
5. Worms take the sniff test to reveal sex differences in brain
6. Tiny genetic differences have huge consequences: McGill researchers
7. Sex differences in the brains serotonin system
8. Negligent, attentive mouse mothers show biological differences
9. Defining DNA differences to track and tackle typhoid
10. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
11. Study sheds light on genetic differences that cause a childhood eye disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016   Acuant , the ... solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce ... add functional enhancements to existing physical access ... venues with an automated ID verification and ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading ... for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced ... it has secured the final acceptance by all ... Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will ... be installed by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud ... work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, ... ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ... advised by its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, ... United States based venture capital funds which ... Biorem (on a fully diluted, as converted basis), that ... of their entire equity holdings in Biorem to TUS ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Cancer experts ... they believe could be a new and helpful biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. ... here to read it now. , Biomarkers are components in the blood, ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Newly created 4Sight Medical Solutions ... healthcare market. The company's primary focus is on new product introductions, to include ... are necessary to help companies efficiently bring their products to market. , The ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... the funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement with ... tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding ... CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer ... data will then be employed to support the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: