October 12, 2007 / 4:06 AM / 10 years ago

Scientists map Chinese genome, now look at pandas

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese scientists have worked out the first complete map of the Chinese genome and are now turning their attention to a national treasure -- the giant panda, a Beijing newspaper reported on Friday.

The mapping of the human genome in 2000 opened the door to the detailed analysis of genes, but experts are trying to find out how they interact with lifestyle and environment to determine why some people become sick and others do not.

The Chinese map, drawn up by about 120 scientists in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, was a "milestone" and a first for Asians, the Beijing News said.

"It is important for the scientific DNA research for Chinese and even Asians to find out the potential illness in genes and epidemic prediction," the newspaper quoted an expert as saying.

The next task for the scientists was to map the genome for pandas, only found in China and at risk of extinction, and they expected success before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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