Scientists at the University of Karachi have mapped the genome of the first Pakistani man with the help of the Beijing Genomics Institute.
“Our nation is a mix of a lot of races,” said Prof. Dr M Iqbal Choudhary, who heads the project. “Pakistanis are like a “melting pot” ie a mix of Mughals, Turks, Pashtuns, Afghans, Arabs, etcetera.”
The achievement places Pakistan in the ranks of the few countries - US, UK, China, Japan and India - which have successfully sequenced the human genome as well. The work was done by Dr Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine & Drug Research at the University of Karachi. This also makes Pakistan the first country in the Muslim world to map the genome of the first Muslim man.
“According to the researchers, the newly sequenced Pakistani genome has uncovered a multitude of Pakistan-specific sites which can now be used in the design of large-scale studies that are better suited for the Pakistani population,” said Dr Choudhary, who is the director of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences at Karachi University.
The first Pakistani genome has been mapped using a recently developed technology, 10 years after the first human genome was discovered. It took 10 months to accomplish the task and the individual who has been genetically mapped is a resident of Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2011.