This past weekend, over 200 Cornell students participated in the Human Genographic Project by submitting saliva samples for DNA testing. The Human Genographic project, sponsored by National Geographic and IBM, aims to map the prehistoric migration of human populations by developing a database of the genetic relatedness of extant human populations. The project has currently analyzed the genomes of 72,000 indigenous people and another ~400,000 people who have bought a $99.00 kit to discover the “deep ancestry” hidden in their DNA.
Charles Aquadro, professor of population genetics at Cornell, organized the event as part of an effort to foster discussion of the legal and social implications of genetic testing. Aquadro is interested in seeing if the Cornell group is as genetically diverse as recent volunteers from a street fair in Queens, who turn out to be wel representative of all major migration routes from Africa.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Human Genographic Project, or getting your own ancestry traced, check out the main website here (The interactive atlas of human migration is particularly cool):