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Mix Mex

9 March 2007

Wiser men than I and unapologetic Mexicans have grappled with  the spiritual and esthetic and cultural dimensions of mestizaje — Mexico’s brilliant and simple solution to avoiding racial strife (“Make love, not war”).  Genetically, the Mexican solution presents its own uniquely Mexican challenges and opportunities. 

The National Institute of Genomic Medicine has finished mapping the human genome of the Mexicans, after two years of investigation, which will allow for a paradigm shift in medical practice, opening the door to individual predictive and preventative care.

An advance study, shown to El Universal, concluded that the Mexican population is a mixture of 35 ethnic groups, quite different from populations in Europe, Asia or Africa.

Doctor Gerald Jiménez-Sanchez, General Director of the National Institute of Genomic Medicine Institute, said the study revealed that 65% of the genetic component of the Mexicans are uniquely “Amerind.”

“Previously, when dealing with a Mexican patient, the doctor could only rely on medications which might not be effective, or might not alleviate symptions, having been designed with other genome populations in mind.” Jiménez-Sanchez said that the drugs that are created in Europe or the United States are not always suitable for Mexicans.

The most common Mexican ailments impacted by the study are cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and some types of cancer (breast, thyroid, infantile leukemia and prostate).

The multi-million Peso research project, which was financed by both private and public funds, will be made public later this year. It shows that the Mexican Republic’s people are of mixed races, and that there are significant genetic differences between people in different states.

The human genome is the total number of chromosomes in the human body.

In June of 2005, 20 experts from the National Institutute of Genomic Medicine Institute began investigating the “Genomic Structure and Map of Haplotides of the Mexican Population,” in order to better understand genetic particularities in the Republic.

The specialists collected blood samples of 140 racially mixed people — 50% women and 50% men in seven states: Sonora, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Yucatan, Veracruz, Guerrero and Tamaulipas.

Jiménez-Sanchez predicted a significant saving in the public health care costs as a result of the study, because doctors will be able to recomment life-style modifications to delay the onset of common diseases within the population.

(original: Lilliana Alcántara, © 2005, El Universal) My translation)

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