Researchers at the University College Dublin have sequenced the first Irish genome, and have found that the Irish are genetically distinct from their European neighbors, says the New Scientist's Debora MacKenzie. The subject of the study, which was published in Genome Biology, possesses 400,000 novel mutations of single DNA bases, nearly 8,000 of which appear to be inherited. The man also had genes that are known to play a role in inflammatory bowel disease and liver disease, MacKenzie says.
Pharyngula's PZ Myers calls the research
both "useful" and "on the edge of being completely trivial." While it's a good study, and it's always exciting to see another organism's genome sequenced, he says, "it's just weird to see 'Irish' announced as a new novel addition to the ranks of sequenced organisms, as if it were Capitella or something." But beyond the fact that it's odd, the genre of research is limited, Myers adds. As we're on the verge of the $1,000 genome, and entering the world of personal genomics, it won't be too much longer before a majority of people get themselves sequenced, and anyone looking to sequence the first Armenian or New Guinean genome could find themselves without any interest from journals.