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Science Can Use DNA GPS To Determine Where Your Ancestors Lived 1000 Years Ago

Maybe everything you know about yourself is a LIE.


Most of us can trace our lineage back a few generations, but what about way back? Like, would-need-a-TARDIS-to-determine-the-truth back? Two scientists have collaborated to create a new kind of DNA GPS that can accurately pinpoint where in the world you came from, over a thousand years ago.

Called the “Geographic Population Structure” tool (because, you know, GPS – hey, SHIELD and SWORD did it first), Dr. Eran Elhaik from the University of Sheffield and Dr. Tatiana Tararinova from USC can use it to determine the exact island or village from whence you came with a 98% success rate.

The GPS reads something called your “genetic admixture,” which is a reading of how many different gene pools you carry in your DNA (specifically, in this case, in your autosomal chromosomes). The GPS knows over 100,00 of these ancestry-informative markers that are specific to particular geographic regions, and can tell where you’re from based on what mixture you have.

Knowing where you came from could have many potential medical benefits, and could help determine your susceptibility to certain diseases or genetic disorders. It could also assist medical professionals with getting you the best kinds of treatment for any illness you might get, as certain genotypes respond to medicines differently.

The best part is, anyone can use the DNA GPS. All you have to do is have your autosomal DNA genotyped by an outside company (which will run you a couple hundred bucks). Then you just upload your DNA to the GPS website, and you’ll have your answers.

(via Gizmag, image via Micah Baldwin)

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Sam Maggs is a writer and televisioner, currently hailing from the Kingdom of the North (Toronto). Her first book, THE FANGIRL'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY will be out soon from Quirk Books. Sam’s parents saw Star Wars: A New Hope 24 times when it first came out, so none of this is really her fault.