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find out where your family is from

http://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/

Get a $100 cheek swab kit, send it in, they decode your DNA and tell you where you're from. Cool. I am tempted. Just this morning, I filled out the American Community Survey for our apartment and had to list my ethnic ancestry. I put down "English, German, Swedish, Hungarian". It would be cooler to put down "I'm descended from people who lived in (some part of Africa) 40,000 years ago".

Comments

I was reminded of this company; they'll take a swab from your cheek and make jewellery out of your dna! Is that the coolest idea or WHAT?!

Eh...I am somewhat skeptical on this. Most of the scientists I know who do population genetics don't buy into this sort of testing. It uses mitochondrial DNA (at least for females), so it will only trace lineage through your maternal side. Typically, mitochondial DNA doesn't mutate very quickly, so it should maintain characteristics of ancestral whatever. But, that assumes that you can isolate ancestral mitochondial DNA to compare it to and I'm not sure how they do that. I've never even heard of the sort of test they are doing for males. There are lots of quirky things with the sort of "paternity" testing that they are doing and itt's not currently widely accepted. That doesn't mean it won't hold up in the long run, I just wouldn't necessarily hold a lot of faith in any results that you get. This looks like some sort of thing to increase the sample size to see if they can get decent results.

Still, it would be interesting if you've got the money to spare.
Well, aren't you a buzzkill. You and your graduate schoolin'. Harrumph. :)
stupidity

July 2011

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