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May 21, 2005

Where did I come from?


As part of a project to map human migration, anyone can have their DNA analyzed for ancestral origins under a program created by National Geographic and IBM.

Here's how to proceed:

1) Go to www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic and order (for $99.95) a mail–in DNA testing kit

2) The cheek swab you submit is used to find "persistent markers" in your genetic code

3) These markers are then matched to the movement of different groups of humans up to 60,000 years ago

The project began on April 13 of this year and aims to create the largest and most detailed map of human lineage ever assembled.

At the core of the database will be 100,000 samples scientists will obtain over the next five years from indigenous populations all over our planet.

The project will compare these DNA results with those of people who submit samples to the program, then search for patterns to refine the map.

The $40 million project is the brainchild of Spencer Wells, a geneticist and explorer–in–residence at National Geographic who has long studied population movements.

Wells says that previous studies have looked at about 10,000 gene samples, only enough to paint migration patterns with the broadest of brush strokes.

He added that participants in the project may be able to trace their lineage all the way back to the particular region their ancestors inhabited some 10,000 years ago.

[via Charles Forelle and the Wall Street Journal]

May 21, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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