Saturday, April 5, 2008

What is genetic mapping?

Developing new and better tools to make gene hunts faster, cheaper and practical for any scientist was a primary goal of the Human Genome Project (HGP).

One of these tools is genetic mapping, the first step in isolating a gene. Genetic mapping - also called linkage mapping - can offer firm evidence that a disease transmitted from parent to child is linked to one or more genes. It also provides clues about which chromosome contains the gene and precisely where it lies on that chromosome.

Genetic maps have been used successfully to find the single gene responsible for relatively rare inherited disorders, like cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. Maps have also become useful in guiding scientists to the many genes that are believed to interact to bring about more common disorders, such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and psychiatric conditions.

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