Tuesday, June 30, 2009

All about Genographic Project

Human migration over the years

Human evolution has always been a mystery. Everything that is said to be 'known' about human evolution is based on scientist's interpretation of archaeological and fossil evidence. It is obvious then, that, most of the facts informed are based on incomplete evidence
In the same way Human migration and many other question that are still unanswered (without 'proper evidence') but we wish they were answered, like who we are? How we moved around the world? How humans are found everywhere on Earth? How did we get here? Where did we come from? And why do we all look so different?
DNA studies says that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who about 60,000 years ago, began a remarkable journey. (Unbelievable rite)

In order to answer all these IBM and National Geographic came up with a 5 year Project named the Genographic Project on April 2005(one more year left for completion). It helps in creation of a global database of human genetic variation and associated culture data like language, social customs, etc... This database will serve as an invaluable scientific resource for the research community. Many human races are facing a cultural extinction; take our own country as an example. Our country has a diversified rich culture which is facing extinction due to modernization which cannot be avoided. This project will help in keeping a record of our cultural context.
The Genographic Project is headed by Dr. Spencer Wells, a pioneer in using DNA samples to map human migratory patterns. Dr. Wells is accompanied by researchers from IBM's Computational Biology Center and a global team of prominent research scientists from 10 research centers around the world.
Another very interesting thing about this project is that even we can be a part of it. By purchasing Genographic Project participation kit (which cost $100 approx :( ), a person can anonymously contribute his or her own genetic sample to the Project.
As the sample is processed, the results themselves are made available through a secure login that can only be accessed through the use of the unique Genographic Project I.D. number which is provided with the participation kit.
We can learn about our deep ancestry and the migration paths they followed thousands of years ago while contributing to this scientific initiative in a very meaningful way. The results will also place us on a particular branch of the man family tree.
When I heard the word ancestry I thought by participating in this we can find out who is our great grandfather and my relation with some great and famous people we read in our History books(lol :)), But it’s actually not. We can only find our direct maternal or paternal ancestors—where they lived and how they migrated around the world many thousands of years ago.
For example, if we are an African descent, the results will show the initial movements of our ancestors on the African continent, but will not reflect most of the migrations that have occurred within the past 10,000 years.

Check these links for further details
National Geography website
IBM website