Washington: Researchers have discovered that many of the genes that boost our immune system vary from person to person depending on their ethnicity, a finding that highlights the need for personalised medicines.
Cracking the DNA code for a complex region of the human genome helped scientists chart new territory in immunity research.
That means even though drugs, treatments and vaccinations are designed to treat whole populations, our response to them could be individualistic.
After completely sequencing the immensely repetitive DNA in the human genome`s one million nucleotide-long immunoglobulin heavy (IGH)-chain locus, a team of US scientists, including those at Simon Fraser University found that ethnicity may influence immunity.
"Time will confirm the extent to which this is true. But we`ve found that sections of the IGH-chain locus` DNA sequence are either missing or inserted into a person`s genome, and this could vary depending on ethnicity," said Corey Watson, postdoctoral researcher at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
"Because this is the most complete version of a human`s IGH sequence, our data has been integrated into the official human genome project assembly," said Watson.
The scientists uncovered the link between antibody makeup and ethnicity when they screened the chromosomes of 425 people of Asian, African and European descent for several DNA insertions and deletions.
Using a single chromosome of an individual, the latest study sequenced all possible antibody-encoding genes in our IGH-chain locus.