APR 27, 2019 3:17 PM PDT

Stressing the Need to Diversify Genetic Data Sets

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

There is an accurate genetic tool for predicting a person’s risk of developing complex diseases like type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, or heart disease - called a polygenic score. It can help doctors identify who needs intervention even when common signs of the disorders are absent. However, if the scores have been developed using genomic data from people of Eurasian descent (most have), they will be the best at predicting risk for people of European ancestry, and not as good for other ancestries.

"From a clinical context, this means that current polygenic scores are significantly better in predicting the risk of common diseases for people of European ancestry than those of African ancestry," said Alicia Martin. Martin is the lead author of a new study on this topic in Nature Genetics.

"This further confirms that risk predictors are more precise if they are drawn from genetic data derived from a similar ancestry," said Martin, who is an affiliate of the Program in Medical and Population Genetics and the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute. "It is crucial that researchers should recruit more minority populations in future genetic studies and also make data from such studies accessible and open. Failure to do this will lead to further inequities in our healthcare system."

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! via Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Nature Genetics

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
MAY 11, 2020
Plants & Animals
Ever Wonder How a Bee Ascends to the Rank of Queen?
MAY 11, 2020
Ever Wonder How a Bee Ascends to the Rank of Queen?
Virtually every beehive sports its own queen bee, but there can be only one. Beneath her are hundreds or thousands of pe ...
JUN 05, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
New Solid-State Battery Bids Farewell to Life-Span Limiting Dendrites
JUN 05, 2020
New Solid-State Battery Bids Farewell to Life-Span Limiting Dendrites
A team of Samsung-sponsored researchers reported in a Nature article an innovative design of solid-state batteries  ...
JUN 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
NASA Picks Astrobotic to Deliver VIPER Rover to the Moon
JUN 14, 2020
NASA Picks Astrobotic to Deliver VIPER Rover to the Moon
NASA is no stranger to autonomous rovers. To date, the American space agency has sent four rovers to the Martian surface ...
JUN 15, 2020
Plants & Animals
Tasty Pigeon Just Barely Outflies a Hungry Falcon
JUN 15, 2020
Tasty Pigeon Just Barely Outflies a Hungry Falcon
It’s dog eat dog out there, especially in the animal kingdom. But this well-received idiom referring to the ruthle ...
JUN 26, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Bacterial Virus May Treat and Prevent COVID-19 Infections
JUN 26, 2020
Bacterial Virus May Treat and Prevent COVID-19 Infections
Researchers say that a type of virus known to infect bacteria could be used to treat and prevent COVID-19 bacterial infe ...
JUL 27, 2020
Plants & Animals
Ghost Crabs Produce Sounds in Stomachs
JUL 27, 2020
Ghost Crabs Produce Sounds in Stomachs
Research from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and University ...
Loading Comments...