Mexico Seeks Genetic Map of its Citizenry

Theresa Braine, AP, July 26

MEXICO CITY—The Mexican government and private companies launched a project Monday to map the genes of Mexicans, in hopes of developing treatments for health problems such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension.

Mexico’s National Institute of Genomic Medicine will work on the project with Foster City-based Applied Biosystems Group, part of Applera, and IBM’s Healthcare and Life Sciences division.

The Mexican population is unique because of its mixture of more than 60 Meso-American native groups with Spanish blood, the center’s director, Gerardo Jimenez Sanchez, said in a statement.

Based on the Human Genome Project, the effort is the largest study of Latin American genes and could usher in a new medical era for the region, authorities said.

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“More than one in eight people in the United States are of Hispanic origin, most of whom originated from Mexico,” Kapor said. “The hope is to characterize the genetic variation of the Mexican people and determine how drugs respond to them.

“The ultimate goal of what is called ‘race-based medicine’ is to develop new treatments for common diseases that target these genetic differences,” she said.

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