- Why do Cape Verdeans have a specific hue to their skin and a tendency toward high blood pressure? Could they be predisposed to obesity? The answers to these and other questions will be made easier following the conclusion of a study two researchers from the University of Porto's Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology (IPATIMUT), in Portugal, are planning to carry out on the genetic structure of the Cape Verdean population.
The study is expected to get under way soon, with the researchers currently awaiting financing from Portugal's Science and Technology Foundation to begin. In the meantime, the two Portuguese scientists are in the Cape Verde archipelago to present authorities and the local scientific community with the project, which is centred in the fields of anthropogenetics and biomedicine.
"Because of its characteristics, Cape Verde is the most recommended country in which to carry out this investigation," explained IPATIMUT researcher Sandra Beleza, whose colleague, Jorge Rocha, added that "the Cape Verdean population has a unique property that will allow us to easily distinguish the genetic and environmental component, elements that determine the characteristics of a people."
The Portuguese researchers intend to analyse and understand three types of characteristics of the Cape Verdean people: skin and eye pigmentation, obesity and hypertension. The study, they believe, will determine the differences resulting from miscegenation and the emigration process Cape Verdeans have experiences ever since the settlement of the islands in the 15th century.
The investigators will be in Cape Verde until Wednesday, 5 April, and will meet with the local scientific community, faculty and future university students in a series of encounters sponsored by the country's health authorities and the University of Cape Verde Installation Commission.
Cape Verde is considered a cradle of miscegenation, the result of the mixing that took place between the Africans who arrived in the archipelago as slaves and the European settlers, most of them Portuguese.
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