Study with 1,200 Genomes Maps Diversity of the Brazilian Population

Samples from 1,247 volunteers were sequenced and analyzed; goal is to reach 15 thousand

São Paulo

Brazil’s DNA genetic diversity is comparable to the sum of 54 populations spread across the world, according to the first results of Brazil’s DNA project, which seeks to build the largest collection of genomes in the country.

The nine-month-old project has sequenced DNA samples from 1,247 volunteers. The goal is to reach 15 thousand.

The Port of Santos (in Portuguese: Porto de Santos) is located in the city of Santos, state of São Paulo, Brazil. As of 2006, it is the busiest container port in Latin America. (Foto: Rubens Chaves/Folhapress) - Folhapress

“We will start to see what the Brazilian population is. Several groups have characterized it over time - now we are on the shoulder of giants”, said Lygia da Veiga Pereira, from USP, a researcher who heads the initiative.

Sequencing involves “spelling out” the sequence of “letters” (or nitrogenous bases, of four types: A, T, C, and G) of the genome — altogether. There are 3 billion of them per person, equivalent to a 500-megabyte file for each sequencing.

“Twelve hundred new genomes sequenced in England would not bring news, but here in Brazil, it was possible to see 88% of the variations observed in 54 different populations around the world. I am very excited: with a small sample, we can see the value of studying the Brazilian population. Here each hoe is a worm!” he said.

The reference study was carried out with the genome of 929 people spread across the globe and was published in March this year in the Science journal. According to the researchers, the Brazilian results will be soon submitted for publication in a specialized journal.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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