Scientists have discovered a dramatic variation in the genetic
make-up of humans that could lead to a fundamental reappraisal of what
causes incurable diseases and could provide a greater understanding of
The discovery has astonished scientists studying the human genome – the
genetic recipe of man. Until now it was believed the variation between
people was due largely to differences in the sequences of the
individual "letters" of the genome.
It now appears much of the variation is explained instead by people
having multiple copies of some key genes that make up the human genome.
Until now it was assumed that the human genome, or "book of life",
is largely the same for everyone, save for a few spelling differences
in some of the words. Instead, the findings suggest that the book
contains entire sentences, paragraphs or even whole pages that are
repeated any number of times.
The findings mean that instead of humanity being 99.9 per cent
identical, as previously believed, we are at least 10 times more
different between one another than once thought – which could explain
why some people are prone to serious diseases.
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