Africans are most genetically diverse group

    A new study published today finds the genes of Africans are the most diverse among all humans. That’s what local researchers discovered after sequencing DNA from more than 3,000 people around the world.

    A new study published today finds the genes of Africans are the most diverse among all humans. That’s what local researchers discovered after sequencing DNA from more than 3,000 people around the world.

    Listen:

    [audio:090430kggenetics.mp3]

    University of Pennsylvania researchers traveled to remote parts of Africa to collect DNA — sometimes using a car battery to power their laboratory equipment in places with no electricity. They found striking genetic variability among African groups — which they attribute to migration and evolution of the earliest humans. Michael Christman is head of the Coriell Institute in Camden and wasn’t part of the UPenn research. He says the genetics can help those studying human diseases.

    Christman: Ninety-five plus percent of those studies have been done on populations of Western European ancestry and there’s a big need for studies to be done on populations from other ethnicities.

    The genes of African Americans were also sampled, and found to have mostly West African origins. The researchers say they were not able to trace Americans back to particular tribes in Africa — and people should be cautious of consumer kits that make such claims.

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