Differences between individual humans are influenced by the many variations found within their DNA, ranging from single-base changes to alterations in large chunks. A paper in Nature takes a close look at the larger variations and their potential origins and evolutionary history.
Evan Eichler and colleagues examined the complete genetic material (genomes) of eight individuals of different geographic ancestry, focusing on long variant stretches of their DNA ranging from a few thousand to a few million base pairs in length. In this small sample, the authors confirmed observations that African genomes have more diversity than other groups, but their data suggest that previous estimates of variation called 'copy-number variants' have been too high. Their valuable high-resolution analysis also conflicts with previous claims about the mutational processes that have shaped these chunks of the human genome.
Evan Eichler (Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of Washington Department of Genome Sciences, Seattle, WA, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
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