Posted on July 21, 2011

Genome Maps May Spot Disease In African-Americans

Joe Palca, NPR, July 21, 2011

Two independent teams of researchers have come up with the most accurate genetic maps ever made–a feat that should make the search for genes associated with diseases easier.


{snip} The trick to making a genetic map is to make road signs in DNA to tell you where you are.

John Novembre, a geneticist at UCLA, says one way to make road signs is to look for what are called recombination events.

“What you’re trying to do is identify locations along the chromosome where the DNA that a person inherits from their mother is different from the DNA they inherited from their father,” Novembre says.

And where that switch in a strand of DNA from one parent’s DNA to the other parent’s DNA occurs is called a recombination event.


What makes these genetic maps particularly interesting is they were developed using DNA from African-Americans. Most maps created so far are based on DNA from people of European ancestry. [Harvard geneticist David] Reich says using African-American DNA revealed something unexpected.

“There’s a family of about 2,500 hot spots of recombination that are active in people of West African ancestry, like African-Americans, which are almost completely inactive in people of non-African ancestry,” Reich says.

Finding these 2,500 hot spots could be particularly helpful for finding genes for diseases that are more common in African-Americans.


12 responses to “Genome Maps May Spot Disease In African-Americans”

  1. Mark says:

    What I don’t understand is this: Science clearly acknowledges that there are genetic differences between the races/ethnicities, but at the same time, we’re not supposed to talk about it as it applies to intelligence, behavior, etc.?

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is a very important area to study. Hopefully they will be able to identify which of these “hot spots” cause the Afros to commit the most violent crimes against fellow man on a much higher than normal ratio with other races. Maybe they will be able to identify which genes are causing their youths to swarm stores robbing and destroying property on a regular basis. This should prove to help cure a lot of problems those people have.

  3. Southron says:

    If race is a social construct, then who constructed these “hot spots?”

  4. John Engelman says:

    When it comes to making ideological points blaming whites for black social pathology, race is a social construct.

    When it comes to treating genetic diseases unique to blacks, race is a fact of considerable biological importance.

  5. Tim in Indiana says:

    Finding these 2,500 hot spots could be particularly helpful for finding genes for diseases that are more common in African-Americans.

    Better be careful. Some of these 2,500 hot spots of recombination may determine intelligence and other personality traits.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Don’t you wonder if they will ever discover the genetic hotspot from where sprung the idea in Africans that they could get rich selling their cousins to the blue-eyed Dutch?

    If they ever get the Slavery Museum built, will they highlight that gene code?

    “The museum owes more than $215,000 in property taxes and fees, dating back to 2008. This month the city announced it is putting the land on the auction block.”

    Oh no! Not enough Whiteys ponied up their shake-down restoration justice down payments to make it a reality!

    Somebody forgot to play the race card often enough to “bring this vital cultural resource into fruition so that we could frog-march generations of Whitey children through it and demand they worship Afro-Zul who will command the Whites to date only blacks, and who will then wipe out racism by refusing to make White babies, which everyone knows are living hate crimes against global dignity.”

    “Under Mr. Wilder’s plan an estimated two million visitors a year were expected at the museum.”

    How many of those were to be unwilling White girls who were told they wouldn’t graduate unless they paid religious homage to the suffering Afro diasporains?

    In 2004, speaking at a gala here for the museum, Mr. Cosby said the museum would allow African-American children “to see the strength of their ancestors.”

    Will they be taught that their ancestors were too weak to fight off their cousin tribes, who then enslaved them and sold them to an alien race?

  7. Anonymous says:

    “2,500 hot spots of recombination that are active in people of West African ancestry, like African-Americans, which are almost completely inactive in people of non-African ancestry”

    ‘Inactive’? or not there at all? this could throw a wrench into the whole out of Africa theory.

  8. François says:

    Still, inspired by anthropologist Franz Boas, contemporary liberals continue to swear that race is just a concept with no real genetic basis to support it, and that what we call race, is only a social construct, as they say…

  9. OBSERVER says:

    There is no difference between humans. This disgusting research is racist. It is using racist terms like “African” and “European” so as to continue the white racist ideas of “race”.

    There are no “races”. There is only the one race of mankind. The tour of the Smithsonian I took recently clearly showed me that race is a white racist hate concept used to keep down people of color.

    These “scientist”, whom I assume are all white (and thus racists) are lying. They are trying to say Africans are different from Europeans (impossible since the Bible says we are ALL God’s children and created on day 6).

    (for those who lack the genetic DNA for sarcasm…..the above is sarcasm)

  10. Anonymous says:

    When I was in nursing school I read a book about the poliio epidemics from 1900 till 1955. The book was written around 1960 before all this nonsense about race.

    I was totally surprised to find that polio hit some ethnic groups harder than others. Apparently children of Italian descent were hit hardest, blacks least.

    Didn’t matter where they lived. New York City or Louisanna swamps. Italians had it the worst.

    Medical researchers come up with findings about race and disease. Medical providers still have to cure the diseases. So everybody understands that blacks are prone to heart disease. The cures are the same no matter what ethnic group.

    The Salk vaccine ended polio for every ethnic group.

    Sometimes I wonder what is the purpose of all this race based medical research. Are physicians supposed to just look at a black patient and assume they have heart disease before blood pressure is even taken? Are they supposed to assume that every fair skinned White woman will have osteoporosis? Do they assume Asians won’t have twins?

    No, physicians test for these things. They ask the patient to answer a series of questions including diseases parents and families had. They ask the patients what signs and symptoms and preform tests to diagnose the medical problem.

    Physicians don’t assume every woman between the ages of 12 and 50 who walks in is pregnant. They don’t assume every man over 35 has prostrate problems. They don’t assume every overweight person has diabetes.

    Physicians test for all these conditions.

    All thse race doesn’t exist or some diseases are race specific ideas are totally irrelevent to diagnosing and treating patients who are first and foremost, individuals each with their individual medical problems.

  11. Peejay in Frisco says:

    The polio epidemic was caused by way too much sanitation.The polio virus is everywhere. We must get exposure to it before the age of 5 to get immumne to it.Hard to believe, isnt it? That is why there was so much less of it in the undeveloped countries.

  12. Eye Floaters says:

    There are a lot of medical conditions that are devastating to humans, but this is definitely the strongest. You would think that will all of the money made to research a cure that it would be better by now. It makes me wonder where all of the charitable organizations give the money too. If a cure can’t be found by now, why? Someone should start answering these questions for us. There needs to be a public accounting system that shows for where the money went. If we showed where it all went I bet we could collect even more for charity.