Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, and Color Genomics are reaching out to groups underrepresented in genomics to recruit them to take part in a new study, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Most participants in genomic studies have been of European descent. A 2009 analysis in Trends in Genetics by Duke University's Anna Need and David Goldstein estimated that 96 percent of people who took part in genome-wide association studies were of European ancestry. An updated analysis published last year by Alice Popejoy and Stephanie Fullerton at the University of Washington in Nature noted that there's been a slight improvement, as 20 percent of people who have now participated in GWAS are of non-European ancestry.
By reaching out through community meetings, the UCSF and Color Genomics researchers aim to enroll 500 people, 125 each of African, Asian, European, and Hispanic backgrounds, into their study. Similarly, the Chronicle notes that 23andMe has received a grant to recruit 2,000 African Americans to build a dataset of genetic variation.
"The genetic diversity in European populations only represents a small subset of global genetic diversity," 23andMe's Adam Auton tells the Chronicle. "By not studying the complete spectrum of human diversity, there's a huge risk we'll be missing many of the discoveries that could be beneficial for all humans across the globe."