Friday, February 14, 2014

The Genetic Atlas Shows You Where You Came From


If you're Romanian, 37 percent of your genes come from Lithuania. Image: The Genetic Atlas.

Humans have a long and super complicated history: Someone became a human in Africa and then started walking, some of us mixed with Neanderthals, others didn’t, some of us hopped across that land bridge in Russia, others headed for Europe instead. A new map helps us make sense of it all and can help tell you where you came from.

The genetic atlas was put together by researchers at Oxford University and University College London and covers 4,000 years of human migration and mating histories for 95 different populations in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. 

To assemble it, researchers analyzed the DNA of nearly 1,500 people and traced them back to their origins. The DNA was then compared with each other for similarities. 

The results give us a glimpse into human history. The map will tell you, for example, that the average Irish person is 9 percent Greek, 4 percent Italian, 45 percent Scottish, and 26 percent Norwegian. An accompanying research paper about the map’s inception was published in Science.

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