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Monday, January 21, 2008

Where tiny becomes big

Tiny Genetic Differences Have Huge Consequences

A study led by McGill University researchers has demonstrated that small differences between individuals at the DNA level can lead to dramatic differences in the way genes produce proteins. These, in turn, are responsible for the vast array of differences in physical characteristics between individuals.


This study solves in part the mystery of how a relatively small number of differences within DNA protein coding sequences could be responsible for the enormous variety of phenotypic differences between individuals. It had previously been shown that individual differences reside in simple, relatively small variations in the DNA sequence called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, often pronounced "snips"), which exist primarily in the "junk code" of the DNA not previously known to have any profound genetic effect.

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