Sunday, February 24, 2008

Human Genetic Diversity Map

Scientists from the University of Michigan, Stanford and the National Institute on Aging have created the highest resolution map yet of human genetic diversity. Their findings are published in both Science and Nature.
This story is receiving plenty of popular coverage, including this segment on NPR's Science Friday and Wired:

Their findings support the widely accepted hypothesis that humanity's ancestors traveled from East Africa through Central Asia and then to the rest of the world. More importantly, they point the way towards fine-grained future studies of population variation, allowing people to pinpoint their own ancestral wanderings and scientists to focus on genomic regions that have experienced intensive historical pressure.

Science journalists approached the story from an anthropological angle -- understandably, because that's the takeaway with the broadest appeal -- but when I spoke earlier this week to researchers from the three teams, they were much more excited about the studies' nuts-and-bolts.

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