The ChocoGen project has the joint aims of (1) characterizing the genetic ancestry of the population of Chocó, and (2) exploring the relationship between ancestry and genetic determinants of health and disease in the region (Colombia and Latin America).  ChocoGen researchers are currently working on a number of projects related to these broad areas of investigation:

Genetic Ancestry

Our initial studies on genetic ancestry provided a high level view of the genetic ancestry of the population of Chocó compared to other admixed populations in Colombia and throughout Latin America.  We are currently working to perform more fine-scale ancestry analyses to pinpoint the African origins of Chocó and other Afro-descendant populations in the Americas.

Hereditary Cancer

There are pronounced disparities in cancer prevalence for Chocó compared to other populations in Colombia and Latin America.  We are working to characterize how the genetic risk for hereditary (familial) cancers is distributed among Latin American populations and how population-specific levels of cancer genetic risk are related to genetic ancestry and admixture.


Pharmacogenetic (genomic) sequence variants can have a major influence on how individual patients respond to drugs, with respect to both efficacy, dosage, and toxicity.  We are investigating the influence of genetic ancestry on the population-specific frequencies of pharmacogenomic variants in admixed American populations.

Common Diseases

Complex common diseases may be influenced by thousands (millions?) of genetic variants, many of which differ in frequency among populations with distinct ancestry profiles.  We are investigating the relationship between the genetic risk for common diseases and genetic ancestry with an emphasis on metabolic syndrome related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.

Mental Health

Developing countries face a number of distinct challenges related to the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders.  We are working with the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) in an effort to understand the genetic architecture of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Colombia.