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As personalized, genomic medicine takes off, four developing countries show the way for others

sis, thought to be genetically homogenous, are feared to be at risk owing to their religious prohibition of marriage outside of the community.

The aim is to determine linkages between genes, disease and environmental factors and develop new therapies and diagnostics, with a focus on chronic diseases, such as cancer and central nervous system disorders, that can be used to directly benefit the Parsi population, with an additional potential to be marketed globally where appropriate.

According to one interviewee in the Indian study, up to 13% of Northern India's population does not respond to up to 30 essential drugs. If the nonresponder cases can be explained by genomic variation, better tailored treatments could potentially be devised, according to the paper.

Thai database grows

A new Thai database will help authorities look for gene-disease associations, including genetic susceptibility to malaria and dengue fever.

One project has collected 1,500 samples from patients and healthy Thais throughout the country; another is working with 3,000 samples from victims of the 2004 tsunami who experienced posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

An example mentioned in the Thai case study is that of patients undergoing kidney transplantation who would benefit from pharmacogenetic testing to prevent adverse reactions to azathioprine, a commonly used drug to stop organ rejection.

South Africa cradle of the human species, home to vast genetic diversity

Sub-Saharan Africa, where modern humans arose, is home to a wealth of human genetic, linguistic and cultural diversity, according to the South African case study, the authors of which included Dr. Raj Ramesar of the University of Cape Town.

South Africa, with its rich ethnic diversity and many isolated populations, has a unique research advantage and is beginning to apply genomics to address local health needs, including HIV and tubercul

Contact: Terry Collins
Program on Life Sciences, Ethics and Policy,McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health

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