gene hunting

The International HapMap Project an organization that aims to develop a haplotype map (HapMap) of the human genome, which will describe the common patterns of human genetic variation. Haplotypes are contiguous strings of DNA. HapMap is a key resource for researchers to find genetic variants affecting health, disease, and responses to drugs and environmental factors. The information produced by the project is made freely available to researchers around the world.

Unlike with the rarer Mendelian diseases, combinations of different genes and the environment play a role in the development and progression of common diseases (such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, depression, and asthma), or in the individual response to pharmacological agents. To find the genetic factors involved in these diseases, one could in principle obtain the complete genetic sequence of several individuals, some with the disease and some without, and then search for differences between the two sets of genomes. This approach is currently infeasible because of the cost of full genome sequencing. The HapMap project proposes a shortcut.

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