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When it Comes to Genes, We’re Not That Different After All
by Pam Chwedyk Minority Nurse Writer
While one racial or ethnic group may look different than another, eat different foods and have different cultural histories, there is no significant genetic difference between races, according to scientists responsible for decoding the human genome.
Last June, researchers from the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium and from Celera Genomics, Rockville, Md., tied in a contest to be the first to sequence all 3.1 billion units of information that comprise the entire set of hereditary instructions for human beings.
One of Celera’s most profound discoveries was that there are virtually no distinguishable differences between the genetic makeup of people—regardless of race or ethnicity.
Craig Venter, chief scientific officer at Celera Genomics, says, “We are confident that our sequence will help demonstrate that the human genome will not aid those who want to perpetuate racial prejudice.”
There are 2.1 million points of genetic difference between individuals and only a few thousand of those amount to biological differences, Venter explains.
Celera has documented 95% of all human genetic information, or between 26,500 to 30,000 distinct genes, with accuracy greater than 99.96%.