Whole-genome sequencing for an enhanced understanding of genetic variation among South Africans

Journal: Nature Communications

Published: 2017-12-12

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00663-9

Affiliations: 20

Authors: 21

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Research Highlight

Genomics gets personal for South Africa

© JGI/Blend Images/Getty

© JGI/Blend Images/Getty

The complete genome sequences of 24 individuals of different ethnic and linguistic ancestries have revealed the extensive genetic diversity of South Africa.

The study — the first report of its kind on Africans, fully funded by an African government and conducted locally — will serve as a springboard for future genetic studies of health and disease in this distinct population.

In an initial pilot project, researchers involved with the Southern African Human Genome Programme decoded the DNA of seven Sotho speakers from the Free State, eight Xhosa speakers from the Eastern Cape, one Zulu speaker from Gauteng, and eight people of mixed origin from the Western Cape.

The team, which included investigators from the University of Cape Town, identified notable genetic differences between groups of black South Africans who speak different but related languages. Plus, they found a much stronger South Asian ancestry in people of mixed heritage than had been documented previously.

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  1. Nature Communications 8, 2062 (2017) doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00663-9
Institutions Share
South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI), South Africa 0.14
UCT Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine (IDM), South Africa 0.12
Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience (SBIMB), Wits University, South Africa 0.10
Faculty of Health Sciences, Wits University, South Africa 0.10
UCT Department of Integrative Biomedical Sciences (IBMS), South Africa 0.07
School of Pathology, Wits University, South Africa 0.06
Faculty and School of Health Sciences, UL, South Africa 0.05
Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, SU, South Africa 0.05
UCT Department of Pathology, South Africa 0.05
Department of Genetics, SU, South Africa 0.05
Department of Medical Sciences, UL, South Africa 0.05
Agricultural Research Council (ARC), South Africa 0.05
Faculty of Health Sciences, UP, South Africa 0.02
Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine (ICMM), UP, South Africa 0.02
Centre for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, UP, South Africa 0.02
Genomics Research Institute (GRI), UP, South Africa 0.02
School of Electrical and Information Engineering, Wits University, South Africa 0.02
Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, UP, South Africa 0.02