Population genomics is the application of genomic technologies to understand populations of organisms. In humans, population genomics typically refers to applying technology in the quest to understand how genes contribute to our health and well-being.
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Population genomics really refers to a new concept in terms of ancestry, in terms of sequencing the human genome, which really has lead to the development of spectacular technology that is helping us to now search the genome in a way that we were unable to do before. So population genomics is really applying biotechnology to the genome in a way that we can characterize, you know, things like genetic variation, you know, understand how they relate to different diseases, and how they contribute generally to the health and well-being of people. And it will also help us to understand human evolutionary history. For example, population genomics is applied to development of the HapMap project, which really tells us and gives us good information about genetic variation across continents.
Charles N. Rotimi, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health; Senior Investigator, Inherited Disease Research Branch
Dr. Rotimi is the director of the Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health (CRGGH), whose mission is to advance research into the role of culture, lifestyle, genetics and genomics in health disparities. Dr. Rotimi develops genetic epidemiology models and conducts population genetics research that explores the patterns and determinants of common complex diseases in the African diaspora and other human populations. A key focus of Dr. Rotimi's research is understanding the triangular relationship between obesity, hypertension and diabetes, which together account for more than 80% of the health disparities between African Americans and European Americans.