Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Discovery in human genetics may impact embryonic stem cell research direction

Newly-announced work in genetics may tip the balance in proposed embryonic stem cell work from treatments to genetic research tools.

In work published in Nature, Nature Genetics and Genome Research, scientists disclose that the 2,900 genes of the human genome could vary in the number of copies possessed by the individuals. Each of us is more different genetically than we previously believed. These "multiple copy numbers" differ from one person to another, which could explain human physical and even mental variation.

One practical benefit is that it could lead to a new understanding of some of the most difficult, incurable diseases.


"Global variation in copy number in the human genome"

Richard Redon, Shumpei Ishikawa, Karen R. Fitch, Lars Feuk, George H. Perry, T. Daniel Andrews, Heike Fiegler, Michael H. Shapero, Andrew R. Carson, Wenwei Chen, Eun Kyung Cho, Stephanie Dallaire, Jennifer L. Freeman, Juan R. González, Mònica Gratacòs, Jing Huang, Dimitrios Kalaitzopoulos, Daisuke Komura, Jeffrey R. MacDonald, Christian R. Marshall, Rui Mei, Lyndal Montgomery, Kunihiro Nishimura, Kohji Okamura, Fan Shen, Martin J. Somerville, Joelle Tchinda, Armand Valsesia, Cara Woodwark1, Fengtang Yang, Junjun Zhang, Tatiana Zerjal, Jane Zhang, Lluis Armengol, Donald F. Conrad, Xavier Estivill, Chris Tyler-Smith, Nigel P. Carter, Hiroyuki Aburatani, Charles Lee, Keith W. Jones, Stephen W. Scherer and Matthew E. Hurles

Nature 444, 444-454 (23 November 2006) doi:10.1038/nature05329


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