Dutch first in decoding female DNA
Monday 26 May 2008
A red-haired, 34-year-old Dutch woman has become the first woman in the world to have her compete DNA unraveled, genetic scientists at Leiden University Medical Centre announced on Monday.
The entire genome of Marjolein Kriek, a clinical genetic scientist at Leiden will be made public in the near future, minus a few sensitive details, professor Gert-Jan van Ommen told a press conference on Monday.
The professor told reporters that the sequencing data of a female provides more insight into the X chromosome. 'Because the X chromosome has to do all the work in one half of the population - the males - selection has been tougher during human evolution,' according to Van Ommen. 'This means the X chromosome is less variable.'
Male sequencing data has already been unraveled from Jim Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, from researcher Craig Venter and from two Yoruba Africans. 'It was time to balance the genders a bit,' news agency AP reported Van Ommen as saying.
Decoding the DNA took six months, but the scientists point out they could only use the sequencing equipment when it was not being used for other projects.
To date, the project has cost €40,000 which does not include further research and in-depth analysis.