By MATT HILDNER
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
February 14, 2009 03:28 am
SAN PABLO – The history of Hispanics in the San Luis Valley has been drawn from the written and spoken word.
But starting at the end of the month, genetic researchers hope to tell that history through DNA. The Hispano/Latino HapMap Project will host a pair of informational meetings Feb. 21 in San Pablo.
The study hopes to reveal the history of Hispanic families as traced in their genes and will compare the DNA from families in the San Luis Valley to the DNA of other Hispanic populations in the Americas.
The project, which is sponsored by the New York University School of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Cornell University, is directed by Dr. Harry Ostrer.
A member of the faculty at NYU, Ostrer said the study was drawn to the area because of the stability of the population, which can be traced back to the colonization of northern New Mexico by the Spanish.
Participants in the study will be asked to donate two small tubes of blood. They'll also be asked to provide genealogical information such as the dates and places of birth for their parents and grandparents.
In return, participants will all receive a report at the end of the study that will include a broad picture of community ancestry and the relatedness of people in the community.
The study will show the proportions of Hispanic stock, including the amounts of Spanish, other European, Native American and possibly Arabic, Asian and Jewish blood, according to a press release issued by the study's sponsors.
Although the study will not report individual ancestry, Ostrer said the privacy of individuals in the study will be protected.
"That's the key issue here," he said. "We don't want to say that Miguel or Angel or Bob is more this or that compared to the others."
For researchers, the information from the study could be used to document the differences in Hispanic populations around the world and in the U.S.
"We think that Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in New York City are different from Hispanos who live in Southern Colorado," he said.
While the study will not give individual participants information about genetic susceptibility to disease, Ostrer said the study would help researchers develop tools for future investigations on disease risks.
There is no cost to participants in the study.
IF YOU GO
The project will host meetings Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. at T-ana's Restaurant in San Pablo. The restaurant is located at 8588 Costilla County Rd. 21.