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Genographic Project:

During a long genealogy dry spell where every place we looked was void of relevant information, we learned about National Geographic sponsoring the Genographic Project. The Genographic Project is a real time effort to map how humankind populated the earth. This project has three main pillars it is using to meets is genetic mapping goals:

The core of the project is the collection of DNA samples from indigenous populations, which contains key genetic markers that have remained relatively unaltered over hundreds of generations making them reliable indicators of ancient migratory patterns.
Allow the general public to take part in the project by purchasing a Genographic Project Public Participation Kit and submitting their own cheek swab sample, thus allowing them to track the overall progress of the project as well as learn their own migratory history.
Use the proceeds from the sale of the Genographic Public Participation Kits to help fund future field research and a legacy project, which will build on National Geographic's 118-year-long focus of world cultures.

Questions?  Here are some answers to those most frequently asked: FAQ

This science project is being lead by geneticist and anthropologist Dr. Spencer Wells.  There are two books by Dr. Wells, the “Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey”, and “Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project”.  In his first book he does a great job of explaining the overall project’s history and approaches in the field.  There is also a PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) documentary created by National Geographic that brings his work and its goals and challenges alive in a way that makes them easy to understand (Keep watch for the "Journey of Man" when it comes to a PBS station near you).  I’ve enjoyed reading Dr. Wells first book a few times and have learned something new each time.  His second book is only due here next week, but if it is anything like the second, I’ll learn a lot more about the project and how I might view the search for genes to make family connections.

When my public participation kit arrived it included a large map showing the various paths the various groups took in populating the world.  There was also a CD copy of "The Journey of Man" PBS documentary, plus instructions on how to use the two swab sticks and return them for analysis.  Testing results took about 8-weeks, but there is a place on the Genographic Project web site where you can log in using your kit number to see how the testing is progressing. 

When the testing is complete, the results are displayed and available for printing.  You are also offered the opportunity to anonymously participate in the Genographic Project where you are asked some simple and non-invasive questions about what country were your parents born in and when.  

There is also a link where you can participate in Family Tree DNA by transferring your test results to their matching database.   There is no cost to participate in Family Tree DNA, but there are a lot of advantages to getting involved if you have an interest in genealogy. 

When the opportunity to expand my access to information appeared, I was more than ready.  To learn what I've found out, follow my current learning with FTDNA. (more...)

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Last modified: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 01:29:26 PM