HapMap completed

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 21, 2005

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A catalog of human genetic variation, known as the human haplotype map or HapMap, was recently completed, with initial results published in the Oct. 27 Nature.

The map, which charts the patterns of genetic variation that are common in the world's population, is expected to aid in the search for genes involved in common diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

The HapMap shows the neighborhoods of correlated genetic variation, or haplotypes, across the entire human genome and consists of more than 1 million markers of variation called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs.

Any two unrelated people are 99.9% identical at the genetic level. But it is important to understand the 0.1% difference, because it can help explain why one person is more susceptible to disease or responds differently to a drug or an environmental factor than another person, said the international team of researchers who developed the map.

Using HapMap data to compare SNP patterns of people affected by a disease with those of unaffected people, researchers can survey genetic variation across the whole genome and identify genetic contributions to common diseases far more efficiently than is possible with traditional approaches.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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