Friday, November 24, 2006

Genetics: More Complicated than we thought

An international team of scientists has published a paper containing potentially revolutionary findings about the human genome.
Genes were classically believed to come in pairs, with rare exceptions called "copy-number variants," but the new research shows that having an unusual copy number - one, three, or more examples of a gene rather than two - is much more common and important than believed.
Shorn of the scientific jargon, the discovery means a couple of things. One is that the human genome is more complex and variable than thought, potentially making it harder to point to one gene as the cause of a problem or defect. Conversely, we now know to look for variations that we used to think were not present or at best unimportant.
James Lupski of Baylor University added, "I believe this paper will change forever the field of human genetics."

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