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The genome map 10 years on, according to Luís Alberto Pérez Jurado

[10/05/11]

On 14th April Cinco Días newspaper published an article on scientific advances after 10 years in the discovery of the main part of the human genome (genetic map).

Luís Pérez Jurado, director of the Master in Genetic Cuonselling, states that “Analysis is more complicated than first hoped. Although no-one imagined that today we would be able to do what we are doing, it appears that learning has not been so easily transferrable to health care”.

Although experts agree that this discovery will change medicine in the future, its current applications are not as great as first imagined. Over 20,000 genes were discovered in 2003 and it is hoped that by the end of this year over 30,000 will have been compiled. Nevertheless, this recognition does not imply that their functions and effects on health are known, due to the fact that each individual's mutations can differ and may be affected by various factors.

Pérez Jurado is optimistic about two new projects parallel to the genome which provide new information: the human microbiome (9 out of 10 cells are microbes which weigh between 1.5 and 2 kilograms in the body) and the epigenome, which studies the influence of environmental factors (diet, toxins, physical activity or stress) that mark one's DNA. In this way, it would be possible to decipher how the genome is conditioned by outside factors.

The final objective is to move closer towards personalised medicine and provide treatment in accordance with individual genetic information.

Click here to read the full article.

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