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A New Genome Map

The current human genome reference map is only one way of representing the human genome, and one that some researchers say is outdated, Technology Review reports.

Instead, researchers like the University of Utah's Gabor Marth say a graph theory-based approach that takes the genomes of hundreds or thousand of people into consideration may be a better way.

"It's very new technology. But in less than five years, everyone is going to be using it," Marth tells Tech Review.

This approach would enable "every possible twist or turn a person's genome could take" to be represented, Tech Review adds.

One hitch is that many researchers are heavily invested in the current map, but proponents of the graph theory-based approach say it will win out, as it will make interpreting genomes cheaper and more accurate. In addition, Tech Review notes that companies like 23andMe and Google are interested in graphs.

"It's kind of a ridiculous thing to do, to shoehorn everyone through the lens of this one reference genome," Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Michael Schatz tells Tech Review. "It was a tremendous milestone to have that first representation of the genome, but now we are outgrowing it. It's time to reboot."