Thursday, March 27, 2008

Genetic Ancestry

I came across an interesting article today that talked about the Most Recent Common Ancestor, which according to Wikipedia is a traceable ancestor that can be found by analyzing either female mitochondrian DNA (yes, the "powerhouse" of the cell!) or male Y-Chromosomes. Some of the research was spearheaded by Dr. Spencer Wells.

I wanted to find out more so I googled him and found an interesting link on the National Geographic site.

The Genographic Project allows you to participate in genetic research by submitting a cheek swab. I took part in a similar test earlier this year which was a way to determine if I have a genetic pre-disposition to heart disease (if you are interested in this test, let me know as I can sell them as a distributor).

I had been interested in submitting a DNA sample to a genealogical site (there is a Clan Henderson Society and they have a DNA project going on I believe) to see about common ancestors or to help trace my own family tree, but the Genographic Project is way more interesting, or in fact would help fill just another part of the story. You can't find your great-great-grandparents with it, but it will help you learn about your "deep ancestry" and find out how your ancestors traveled over the globe anywhere between 60,000 - 150,000 years ago.

Wells' research indicates that all living humans are descended from a single man living in Africa between 60 - 90 thousand years ago (1) and also a single female who lived 150,000 years ago(2).

Simply amazing!


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