Written by By Agnes Tijerina , CNN Written by Agnes Tijerina, CNN Cyprus, UNITED KINGDOM, France , United States , United Kingdom
The founders of the Copenhagen Genetics Atlas, which is backed by the WHO, have decided against including any Greek letter in their public genetic sequencing database.
It was taken seriously as an ethnic marker when the Danish Institutes of Statistics began to factor in Greek numbers in the 1970s. But three years after the Copenhagen Genetics Atlas — a project aimed at calculating the genotype, or sequence, of thousands of studies — abandoned its attempt to crunch the genomic data, the publishers claim the search for a Greek variant has proven fruitless.
Greek DNA isn’t the only test that has been shelved, according to the Atlas: “We wanted to take into account the non-Greek DNA in the database, but have not succeeded. Only 39% of the variants have any non-Greek signature.”
So what does this mean for Greek immigrants in the United States, Greece and elsewhere? According to Stewart Whitney, author of “From Mathematics to Seine Speculations,” it means there is now “no non-Greek variant that can have any effect on the calculation of genome-wide statistical relationships.”
However, Whitney also says that while the pause may have been straightforward, he thinks its ultimate purpose is not: “The pause is an indication of a deeper research agenda in the scientific community that would want to consider but ignore the influence of non-Greek genes altogether in order to close one of the doorstops of the genome project.”
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Or, he suggests, it may simply be that “Greek genes do not deserve their name in the first place.” “How can the results of a study related to one Greek gene be compared to the non-Greek gene of another Greek population? Why bother?” he asks.
Another recent correction stands to the contrary: In January, the Interpreter published a correction to five articles from two Chinese genomic papers that use pre-Hispanic languages that derive from Greek genes.