Variation in Human DNA

Posted on June 13, 2010  Comments (1)

Variation on the order of thousands to hundreds of thousands of DNA’s smallest pieces – large swaths varying in length or location or even showing up in reverse order – appeared 4,205 times in a comparison of DNA from just four people.

Those structural differences popped into clear view through computer analysis of more than 500 linear feet of DNA molecules analyzed by the powerful genome mapping system developed over nearly two decades by David C. Schwartz, professor of chemistry and genetics at UW-Madison.

“We probably have the most comprehensive view of the human genome ever,” Schwartz says. “And the variation we’re seeing in the human genome is something we’ve known was there and important for many years, but we haven’t been able to fully study it.”

To get a better picture of those structural variations, Schwartz and his team developed the Optical Mapping System, a wholly new type of genome analysis that directly examines millions of individual DNA molecules.

“Our newer genome analysis systems, if commercialized, promise genome analysis in one hour, at under $1,000,” Schwartz says. “And we require that high speed and low cost to power the new field of personal genomics.”

Read full press release

Related: New Understanding of Human DNAOpossum Genome Shows ‘Junk’ DNA is Not JunkBacteria Can Transfer Genes to Other BacteriaScientists crack 40-year-old DNA puzzle

One Response to “Variation in Human DNA”

  1. Adriaan Brink
    June 14th, 2010 @ 7:02 am

    Its amazing what these DNA strings can reveal. Such a powerful fingerprinting mechanism – the mind boggles to consider the possibilities going forward. I read recently that there was some mechanism to clone DNA making it non-unique – lets hope they include some sort of self-destruc mechanism!

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