你我的基因,我们有何不同?

曾经有一段时间,科学家们认为人类单个个体99.9%的基因都是相同的。另外不同的0.1%(大约为3, 000,000个碱基)是由散布于基因组的 “单核苷酸多态性”组成的(单核苷酸多态性即SNPs,为DNA单个碱基的改变)。这些DNA的改变被认为可以或多或少地解释两个不同的、普通个体之间存在的身体差异。

2004年的夏令时节,两个独立开展研究的科学家团体对这一科学教条提出了疑问。(其中一个团体由哈佛医学院、伯明翰大学以及波士顿女子医院的研究者负责,另一个团体由冷泉港实验室的研究者负责)。他们的研究涉及到成百上千的人类基因区域,在这些区域,特殊DNA片断的组数因个体而不同。除了少数几个例外,所有的DNA片断都被认为存在于两个基因组中(一个遗传于母亲,另一个遗传于父亲)。

两份研究都显示在成百上千的基因区域中都有可能多于所认为的两个基因组。这些科学家提出的存在更多基因差异来源的想法使我们对其相关性展开了想象。

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