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Thread: National Geographic genographic project

  1. #1 National Geographic genographic project 
    Forum Sophomore Elbethil's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    Alberta, Canada
    This was posted on a friend's LiveJournal. (quoted with permission)
    My Mom is taking part in National Geographic's Genographic Project. Basically they'll map your genetic history (hopefully) all the way back to Africa. In the package they sent us there was also a DVD with a special on it called The Journey of Man and it was truly fascinating. It's about a geneticist named Spencer Wells who is tracing the migration of humans out of Africa using genetic markers. For me, the most interesting bit was that he's tracked the paths of future Europeans and North/South Americans. It seems all of us went to Central Asia first and then the Europeans went their way and the future Americans headed off through Siberia and Alaska. Very cool.

    There was also this tidbit in one of the booklets that came with the package:

    Now a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, Dr. Wells is in the forefront of this exciting new blend of history and science. With his mentors and associates, he has focused primarily on mapping the markers on two relatively stable genetic components. Those on the mitochondrial DNA (passed from mother to offspring in long maternal chains of descent) have been charted so far back that they have reached a "coalescence" point, a genetic ancestor now shared by every person alive today - indicating that we are all children of one ancestral female. This "Eve," as she has been dubbed, lived in Africa roughly 150,000 years ago. At that time the total human population was probably quite small, and it was more by chance than destiny that only her line survived.

    The other relactively stable genetic component in the Y chromosome, passed only from father to son, and the markers on it, too, have been traced back to a coalescence point, indicating we all share a common male ancestor as well. This "Adam" also lived in Africa, but only 60,000 years ago. He probably looked very much like our San Bushman, who stems from one of humanity's oldest genetic stocks.

    "We're all effectively cousins," Wells points out, "separated by no more than 2,000 generations."
    I found this to be quite fascinating. Thoughts?

    edit: the project's web page is available here.

    "In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams
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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore vslayer's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    new zealand
    wow. so basically, we are all inbreds

    and so the balance of power shifts...
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