Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Genographic Project

National Geographic and IBM are hooking up to study the migration of humans over the last 60,000 years. They are calling it the Genographic Project. Basically they are collecting DNA from a ton of people to figure out where the similarities are and therefore who has common ancestors.

New DNA studies suggest that all humans descended from a single African ancestor who lived some 60,000 years ago. To uncover the paths that lead from him to every living human, the National Geographic Society today launched the Genographic Project at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.

The project is a five-year endeavor undertaken as a partnership between IBM and National Geographic. It will combine population genetics and molecular biology to trace the migration of humans from the time we first left Africa, 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, to the places where we live today.

The cool part is that for $100 they send you a kit so you can collect your DNA and send it back to them. Your DNA will be added to the study and you can find out where your ancestors came from. I signed up for a kit so I will see where I am from.

The part I don't get is that if both my parents were to take the test, then wherever their ancestors came from, obviously those are also my ancestors. But if I were to also take the test, it would only show me as having only 1/2 the ancestors my parents did because I only have 1/2 the combined DNA of my parents (1/2 from my Mom and 1/2 from my Dad). Likewise if my sister and I took the test, we obviously have the same ancestors, but I bet it would show different things because we have different DNA (but we would both only have subsets of our parents DNA/ancestors). So while I can see where this test can tell me where some of my ancestors came from, I can't see it is even possible for it to know where all of my ancestors came from.

Still, all and all cool stuff.

1 comment:

viral said...

tight! any results from this?

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