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Home >> Sci-Edu
UPDATED: 15:59, April 20, 2005
China participates in outlining "gene map"
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Where is the origin of human beings? From where did the ancestors of today's ethnic groups worldwide migrate? An explorative program on human races' migrations was initiated on April 18.

To uncover the centuries' mystery, scientists with ten research centers of the participant countries �C including China, Russia, France, Britain -- will collect 100, 000 human DNA samples in five years to outline an accurate genetic structure of peoples in the world.

The School of Life Science of Fudan University in east China's Shanghai municipality is the only institution in East Asia and Southeast Asia designated to the program. It will be dedicated to collect over 10, 000 DNA samples in the region.

China started independently in 1997 on the Chinese part and has made some achievement, according to Dr. Li Hui from the School of Life Science of Fudan University. From the nearly 20, 000 DNA samples collected on different ethnic groups in China, it is found that Chinese ancestors set off from northeast Africa about 50, 000 years ago, across the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia, arrived in today's Yunnan and Guangxi about 30, 000 years before now.

They evolved into 56 ethnic groups throughout tens of thousands of years, among whom, Han and Tibetan people were the latest to branch out therefore were the closest in terms of blood tie. This provides strong evidence for the concept that "Han and Tibetan people had the same ancestors".

Every cell in the human body has a whole set of genome, in which 99 percent of the DNA sequence information is the same and one percent is individually specific. If the samples are huge in amount, the one percent of individual information will converge into a large database through which scientists can easily find the common characteristics of different groups.

As for gene security, which draws much concern, Fudan University has specially established an ethics committee committed to monitoring the research on the DNA samples on China's part. Personal information will be stored anonymously and can not be shown without personal password.

By People's Daily Online

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