Monday, June 20, 2005

Mommy where did I come from?

Recently IBM partnered with National Geographic to create the Genographic Project, whose purpose is to map humanity's migration from out of Africa by studying the genes from people all over the world. Over thousands of years, small mutations occur in the genetic sequencing and these changes are passed down to future generations. The scientists are able to seek out these DNA markers and determine where certain groups of people split to end up where they are today. My sister, as an employee of IBM, was fortunate enough to participate in this study by donating a cheek swab for the greater good. For women the maternal line is traced through mitochondrial DNA so my mother, sister and I have the exact same ancestral trace. (For men the paternal line is traced through the Y chromosome). The results are in, and although not entirely surprising, are fascinating nonetheless. Check it out:
My ancestral migratory map

My path, as well as yours, starts out in East Africa with the "mitochondrial eve": the common ancestor of all living humans. From there we journey north and east to the fertile crescent region, and then on into South Russia. The genetic line (haplogroup H) stays in the Europe region and in fact today is shared by roughly half of all Europeans, as well as many in the Middle East and North Africa.

If you are interested in participating then follow this link to find out how to order your own kit.


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