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Korean Biotechnology Company Sequences Genome of Korean Man

NEW YORK, June 27 - Macrogen, a Korean biotechnology company, has sequenced its own draft of the human genome using the DNA of a 22 year-old Korean man, The Korea Times reported Wednesday.

After sequencing the DNA, Macrogen compared the 96,768 BAC clones that the company collected with Celera's version of the human genome, published last February in Science . Macrogen officials claimed to have found specific genes unique to the Korean population.

Macrogen began its sequencing efforts in 1999, to develop a genomic database specific to Koreans that the company could use as a basis for designing DNA chips and developing personalized genetic diagnostics. The newspaper reported that the company is searching for markers for diseases such as cancer of the lung, colon, pancreas, and breast.

Founded in 1997, the company has provided transgenic mouse services for biomedical researchers, and more recently began developing a biochip arrayed with cDNA clones, for cancer diagnosis, according to the company website. The company is also interested in finding SNPs specific to the Korean population.

"Considering that we are planning to make the DNA Chip for diagnostic purposes within two years, it is very important to have a Korean gene pool since the genetic background of Koreans is thought to be quite different from that of the American/European gene pool," the company said on its website. "We expect that our DNA chip can also be used in Asia including Japan and China."

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