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Southern African Genome Diversity Study

Study Goals

The overall goal of this study is to establish the true extent of human genome diversity, which includes the largely understudied indigenous populations of the world. It is critical that all peoples who desire  to be part of the genomic era are provided with this opportunity to be included in research studies, genomic databases to reap the benefits of enhanced knowledge from genomics which is  are shaping the future of medicine and our society. [Science (New York, N.Y.). 2011 May 06; 332: 639.]

The inclusion of the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in the first South African Genome project was important for so many reasons. His participation ensured that many more Africans will participate in this necessary research. Here are his own words [Science. 2011 Feb 11; 331: 689.] on the sequencing of his genome [Nature. 2010 Feb 18; 463(7283): 943-7.].

"Southern Africans are victims of many devastating diseases whose eradication requires immediate attention and international resources. My hope is that my genetic code may provide a voice for the region and serve as the starting point for a map of DNA variation significant for Southern African peoples, to be used for medical research efforts and effective design of medicines. I implore the scientific community to continue what I hope was just a first step to further medical research within the region."

Photo: Archbishop Tutu pictured on February 2011 in San Diego, CA at the 10 year celebration since the publications of the first draft human genomes in both Science and Nature.

Principal Investigator

Vanessa Hayes

Analytical Team

Nicholas Schork
The SCRIPPS Research Institute, San Diego

Desiree Petersen
JCVI, San Diego

Ondrej Libiger
The SCRIPPS Research Institute, San Diego

Elizabeth Tindall
JCVI, San Diego

International PhD students and Visiting Scientists

Rae-Anne Hardie
University of New South Wales, Australia

Zolani Simayi
University of Limpopo, South Africa

Katherine Theron
University of Limpopo, South Africa