A made-in-Africa genetic chip could revolutionize medicine made for Africans

A chip containing millions of genetic variations that are common in Africa could help scientists bring the benefits of precision medicine to the continent. The chip could lead to new insights into human health as well as new treatments that work better on Africans. Its developers say it will be ready to use in early 2017.

“This will be the first chip that has been created to specifically target genetic variation in African populations and people of African descent,” says Nicola Mulder, a bio-informatician at the University of Cape Town in South Africa who led the work on the chip. The chip will contain 2.5 million different markers hand-picked for their African relevance. It’s been produced by the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative, a program to boost genetic research in Africa funded by the UK and the US. The program has collected tens of thousands of samples from Africans to study genetic links for diseases like diabetes, sleeping sickness, rheumatic heart disease and tuberculosis. Read more details at http://bit.ly/2ftVHw6