Tutu: Genome study ‘vindication’ of apartheid opposition

2010-02-18 13:33

ARCHBISHOP Emeritus Desmond Tutu said earlier today that the study

which mapped his and four other Africans’ genomes was “a wonderful vindication”

of opposition to apartheid notions of supremacy.

“Can you imagine what our world would become if we accepted we are

family?” Tutu asked at a formal ceremony to present the results in the Namibian

capital Windhoek.

The study, led by researchers from the US and Australia, aimed to

shed more light on the genetic make-up of southern Africans. The results were

published in this week’s issue of Nature magazine.

The results threw up a surprise for The Arch, who discovered he has

Bushman ancestry. The Bushmen are, genetically speaking, the oldest race on

earth and indigenous to South Africa.

Professor Stephan Schuster of Pennsylvania State University in the

US, who collaborated on the study, said that he hoped the research might attract

interest from, and foster the growth of, the pharmaceutical industry within


Treatments for diseases more prevalent or particular to parts of

Africa, such as HIV or tuberculosis, could be better developed by having more

specific research from Africa, rather than the West, he said.

Schuster also hoped that it would mean indigenous Africans would be

viewed differently in the future. “I hope this means that indigenous minorities

might be given more respect for what they can contribute to humankind.”

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