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A Closer Look at SNPs Suggests Difficulties

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Science  18 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5384, pp. 1787-1789
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5384.1787

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SKOKLOSTER, SWEDEN-- During the past year, researchers, both public and private, have scrambled to accumulate the single-base variations in the human genetic code called single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, because they believed that SNPs would be extremely helpful in tracking disease genes and understanding human genetic diversity. But new results presented here earlier this month at the first international meeting devoted to SNPs suggest that using SNPs to achieve these goals could prove more difficult than initially thought. In some cases, SNPs might fail to pick up disease genes, or researchers will need to have many more SNPs located in and around the suspected disease gene to make their case than first anticipated. Other work suggests that researchers will also need more information about the history of the people being studied, such as their migration patterns, to make sense of their SNP data.