Sino-US scientists sequence Mongolian genome

Updated: 2013-07-18 15:38


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XINING - Scientists from China and the US have finished sequencing the genome of Mongolians living in Northwest China's Qinghai province, according to the research team responsible for the sequencing.

The sequencing and drafting of the genome was published on Thursday in the science journal PLoS Genetics. The research is expected to aid in the treatment of altitude-related diseases.

A team consisting of researchers from the Medical College of Qinghai University and the University of Utah spent four years sequencing the genome. The team studied 42 Mongolians living at an altitude of 3,000 meters and compared them with 300 people of nine populations from elsewhere in Asia and Europe.

More than 300 genes, or 2 percent of the genome, varied greatly from those of other populations and helped the Mongolians adapt to the region's plateau environment, said Gerili, director of the Research Center for High Altitude Medicine at Qinghai University.

The findings will aid in the understanding of the body's low-oxygen response system and help researchers find new ways to prevent and treat high-altitude sickness and other illnesses that occur in low-oxygen environments, Gerili said.

Gerili said the team found that the Mongolians of Qinghai share some genes with Tibetans, adding that cross-ethnic communication with Tibetans also helped the Mongolians adapt to their environment.