DNA reveals biggest-ever human family tree, dating back 100,000 years – Boston News, Weather, Sports
, 2022-02-24 02:00:00,
(CNN) — Researchers have used genetics to create the largest human family tree ever made, allowing individuals to find out who their distant ancestors were and where they lived, as well as exactly how they are related to everyone alive today.
The research, carried out by scientists from the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute, combines human genomes from a variety of sources — both ancient and modern DNA — to better understand human history and evolution.
Just as a family tree shows how an individual is related to their parents or siblings, genetic genealogy reveals which genes are shared between two individuals, lead author Anthony Wilder Wohns, now a postdoctoral researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, told CNN.
As such, it can show which points in the human genome individuals share genes and where they differ, he added.
“Simply put, what we did was we created the largest human family tree ever,” Wohns said. “We have a single genealogy that traces the ancestry of all of humanity, and shows how we’re all related to each other today.”
The resource means anyone who has access to their own genetic information can work out when their ancestors moved to a particular place, and why they have certain genes.
“It’s basically understanding the entire story of human history that’s written in our genes,” Wohns said.
Human genetic research has developed rapidly in recent decades, generating huge amounts of new information. New techniques in ancient DNA analysis have provided tantalizing details about prehistory and in 2010 explosively revealed that humans interbred with Neanderthals.
However, it has proven difficult to combine different databases, integrate ancient and modern genomes, and work out ways of handling…
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