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post in: Lifestyle Date:22 Nov 2017, 12:28 views:910
Students at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez recruit volunteers for genomic research at the beach in Fajardo on the far eastern end of the island.
When it came time for students to pick genes to study from the genomes of their diagnosis fellow Puerto Ricans, Alexandra Wiscovitch chose those responsible for hair and eye color. As a modeling teacher, she had noticed her students had a variety of both.
"You think of Puerto Ricans, and you think of all of us asthma having brown eye color and brown hair color Wiscovitch said.
Fellow student Jorge Irizarry Caro's interest in studying medicine, particularly cardiology, helped him select a gene that may play a role in heart attack. Wiscovitch and Caro are among the student researchers mapping the genetic heritage of Puerto Rico, based on the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in spit samples they have been collecting from local people on beaches, in shopping malls and other public places across the island.
The genetic material they collect contains clues to Puerto Rican ancestry a mix of African, European and American Indian susceptibility to disease and prominence of other traits, such as hair and eye color. 8 Surprising Facts About Hispanics' Health "That is the goal we are moving toward, to describe genetic diversity across the island and do it in a kind of crowdsourcing way, one study at a time said Taras Oleksyk, the principal investigator for the project, Local. "And hopefully, we'll come up with something on the big picture.".
As a population geneticist, Oleksyk believes "the most remedies interesting thing is how different people came to Puerto Rico and how they brought different genetic characters with them.".
This "story of the people" can be applied to understand how individual Puerto Ricans react to environmental conditions and the disease risks they face, he said. Mixed heritage, the students are approaching their goal of collecting 96 samples from the island's 78 municipalities. Afanador, a graduate student, has begun the ysis that will lead to detailed maps of ancestry patterns across Puerto Rico.