New genetic map used to advance drug research

Using what we know already about genomics and genetic variations, researchers can pinpoint a person's geographic origins in Europe within a range of just a few hundred kilometers. And the increasing clarity of that genetic map can help researchers better understand the role genes play in the development of diseases.

Focusing entirely on genetic variations, researchers developed algorithms that could predict geographic origin--even the origination of specific ethnic groups inside Switzerland. GlaxoSmithKline participated in the study so it could gain a clearer understanding of the role pharmacogenetics could play in understanding the genetic risks posed by drugs.

"They are interested in pharmacogenetic purposes to do case control studies of adverse drug reactions," said John Novembre, a co-author of the study published in Nature.

"The idea is to save money in these large-scale genetic epidemiological studies," said Michael Krawczak, who took part in a similar study published in the Current Biology. "It's very costly to genotype people."

But if you establish genetic control groups you can test a drug against populations to understand where the greatest benefits lie, added Krawczak.

- read the article from MIT Technology Review

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