Khoisan Genome Sequenced and Tutu Too.

The figure shows ethnic grouping and localities of study participants, KB1, NB1, TK1, MD8 and ABT (a–e, respectively), areas of arid and desert climates and the geographic distribution of the Khoisan and Niger–Congo languages. The Khoisan languages are characterized by clicks, denoting additional consonants. The ! is a palatal click; / is a dental click; and # is an alveolar click. Note that the ABT Y chromosome haplogroup was determined using both genotyping and sequencing data generated by this study. Image from Nature, for educational use only.

Complete Khoisan and Bantu genome sequences have been taken in South Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has Tswana and Nguni ancestry, was chosen as the representative Bantu donor, while the Khoisan were represented by four elders from different linguistic groups.

From Science in Africa:

The study identified 1.3-million genetic variants that scientists previously had not observed. These genetic variations reveal that Southern Africans are quite distinct genetically from Europeans, Asians, and West Africans. The study also reveals striking levels of genetic differences among the individual study participants. Webb Miller, professor of biology and computer science at Penn State, who performed the comparative analysis of the genomes, underscores the genetic uniqueness of the Bushmen by saying, “On average, there are more genetic differences between any two Bushmen in our study than between a European and an Asian. To know how genes affect health, we need to see the full range of human genetic variation, and Southern Africa is the place to look.”

For the complete news article see Sequencing of Bushmen and Bantu Genomes.

Oddly enough, the NatureNews article is pay-per-view, but the complete letter to the journal can by viewed here.

Complete Khoisan and Bantu genomes from southern Africa. Stephan C. Schuster, et al. Nature 463, 943-947 (18 February 2010) | doi:10.1038/nature08795; Received 11 August 2009;  Accepted 6 January 2010.

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