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Parts of new genes are found

Scientists say they have identified portions of 2,375 previously unknown human genes, which should help researchers find genes that cause disease.

Combined with more than 300 gene portions previously found by the research project and reported last summer, the work may represent as much as 5 percent of the entire complement of human genes, researchers said.

The report appears in today's issue of the journal Nature.

The research focused on the brain, where 30 percent to 50 percent of human genes are thought to be active, said report co-author J. Craig Venter of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md.

Genes are composed of building blocks called bases, and the new research is aimed at identifying a portion of the bases for each of many genes. These portions can then be used to find the corresponding full genes, or to show where the full genes lie on string-like structures called chromosomes, Venter said.

Once the portions have been mapped onto the chromosomes, they will provide new markers that can be used to help locate other genetic traits, he said.