Project Will Map Genome of 15 Thousand Brazilians

Partnership brings together universities and companies; chosen are public servants of ongoing study

São Paulo

A new project, called "DNA do Brasil," will study in-depth the DNA of 15,000 Brazilians and promises to place the country on the global map of genomic studies.

The idea is that in the future, it will be possible to prevent and treat diseases more precisely based on the knowledge gained.

Genome is the name given to all the genetic material of an organism, a kind of life cookbook for characteristics such as height, foot shape, susceptibility to infections, the tendency to disease, and the response to treatment with certain medicines, among many others.

DNA structure - Nature

Brazilians who will have their DNA analyzed are already part of another project, the Elsa (Longitudinal Study of Adult Health). Since 2008, Elsa has followed the health of civil servants, from 35 to 74 years old, in six Brazilian cities - São Paulo (USP) ), Belo Horizonte (UFMG), Porto Alegre (UFRGS), Salvador (UFBA), Rio de Janeiro (Fiocruz) and Vitória (UFES).

Elsa's goal is to investigate over 20 years the factors behind chronic diseases. The Ministries of Health and Science and Technology has already contributed more than R$ 60 million to the study.

Although civil servants do not ideally represent the Brazilian population, they tend to stay in the city where the study began. They were therefore chosen to participate in a study of chronic diseases, which often take time to appear.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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