Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Discovering Unknown Gene Mutations in Iceland's DNA

Sequencing genomes is incredibly helpful in adding to the understanding of different species and populations. Having data for sequenced genomes also gives a lot of information for people that study gene mutation and disease. Scientists in Iceland sequenced the complete genomes of 2,636 people from Iceland which is the biggest population sequenced out of every country in the world (in 2015). From this information they were able to also deduce information of the genomes of  more than a hundred thousand other Icelanders, adding to the extensiveness of this feat.

This genetic information helped scientists discover how different mutations that were unknown before affect certain diseases. Not all diseases are caused by a mutation on a single gene, mutations of many genes can cause certain disease or the likelihood of someone getting that disease. There are so many different combinations of mutations yet to be discovered, but having a big population size with available genetic information can lead to more because scientists can find things in common with people from the same population. Scientists found that eight people from Iceland with the same mutation on a MYL4 gene all had a diseases that causes irregular heartbeat in common. Having a big sample size to compare data to is very helpful in science, and can help lead the studies of how mutations affect many diseases, progressing.

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