The International HapMap Consortium has completed Phase II of its ambitious genetic mapping project. The International HapMap project, launched in 2002, is a collaboration of scientists from Canada, China, Japan, Nigeria, the UK and the US that seeks to identify and catalogue genetic similarities and differences for the purpose of helping researchers find genes that affect health, diseases and individual responses to medications and environmental factors.

Phase I of the study, completed in 2005, reported more than 1.3 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), whereas Phase II identified a further 2.1 million SNPs. The HapMap Project has already helped researchers uncover genetic components to diseases such as type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, elevated blood cholesterol and Crohn's diseases.

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