Genetic Chaos

Monday, April 05, 2004

Population genomics: a bridge from evolutionary history to genetic medicine

Studies of human genetic variation are making contributions in several key areas. Evolutionary genetic studies yield critical clues about the histories of human populations, and they provide substantial support for an African origin of modern humans. The analysis of genetic variation has formed a foundation for DNA-based forensic applications. And, as attention is focused on locating genes underlying complex diseases, it is becoming clear that a better understanding of genetic variation will help to guide gene-mapping efforts. Population genomics, the large-scale comparison of DNA sequences, is now beginning to provide new insights in these areas. We review some of the general patterns of human genetic variation, and we show how our knowledge of these patterns can aid in the mapping and cloning of disease-causing genes.

PDF file