Study focuses on Latinos’ genetics

ITHACA — Latinos have different genetic markers depending on where their ancestors were from, according to a research study conducted by several universities including Cornell University.

Latino populations that lived along traditional slave routes and near ports — such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia — have more African ancestry, according to the Cornell press release. Latino populations that lived more inland in such locales as Mexico and Ecuador show more Native American roots, the release said.

The research, which was led by Katarzyna Bryc from Cornell and Christopher Velez from New York University’s School of Medicine, included genetic samples of 112 people from Mexico plus 100 samples from people from Ecuador, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

The study offers significant information for the medical field, where knowledge of ancestries may show tendencies toward chronic inherited diseases, according to Cornell officials. For example, previous studies have shown that Latinos with greater European ancestry have a higher risk of breast cancer. The genetics study, which also included work by researchers from the University of Arizona and Stanford University, can be found at www.pnas.org.

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