June 21, 2013, 11:02 AM —
Image credit: Flickr/SWANKSALOT
It's always fascinating to know your ancestry. But can you ever really know it?
Usually we rely on what our parents and older relatives told us about where we and our ancestors came from. Our elders, of course, did the same thing. But that sort of oral (and sometimes written) tradition eventually can include holes and inaccuracies. After all, the Internet hasn't always been around.
But an eight-year-old project begun by The National Geographic Society and IBM to develop a comprehensive map of human migration can produce an incredibly detailed history of a person's ancestors with a mere swab sample from inside the mouth. (Note: The swab comes from a DNA testing kit that costs $199.95.)
The goal of the Genographic Project is to use advanced DNA analysis to better understand how humans migrated from Africa and evolved over many centuries. To do that, researchers need a lot of DNA samples. So far they've collected more than 400,000 DNA profiles from people curious about their ancestry.
DNA doesn't lie, so the test eliminates all the doubts and inaccuracies that can arise from less scientific methods of tracing ancestry (such as what your uncle told you).
The project has developed a new test kit called Geno 2.0 that examines nearly 150,000 DNA identifiers and reveals in great detail where your ancestors came from and passed through. You might even find out if you have any Neanderthal blood in you. It could lead to a gig with Geico.