Blue diagram of DNA

Find your ancestral home using DNA

A new DNA technique can find the village where your ancestors lived 1,000 years ago.


Gimme the gist

Do you know where your ancestors lived?

No, not your mom and dad, or your grandparents, or even your great-grandparents. Would you be able to find the home of your ancestors who lived many centuries ago?

With the right tools, you can!

Researchers Dr. Eran Elhaik and Dr. Tatiana Tatarinova from the universities of Sheffield and Southern California have developed a technique that uses your DNA to pinpoint exactly where your ancestors lived as far back as 1,000 years ago.

The tool is called GPS—no, not Global Positioning System, but Geographic Population Structure (obviously).

By analyzing your DNA and figuring out which separate populations have mixed to produce it, the technique can accurately locate where it happened.

Dr. Eran Elhaik, who is apparently a big fan of food analogies, describes it as follows:

“If we think of our world as being made up of different colors of soup – representing different populations – it is easy to visualize how genetic admixture occurs. If a population from the blue soup region mixes with a population from the red soup region, their offspring would appear as a purple soup.”

For a more detailed explanation, watch the following video:

Older DNA techniques could estimate your origins down to within 700 kilometers. The new GPS tool does this all the way to the village or island of origin. And it boasts a 98 percent success rate.

Curious? You, too, can try find your ancestral home at Prosapia Genetics. It will cost you, though. The full DNA test may run upwards of $100. So the question is: Just how curious are you about finding where your ancestors lived many generations ago?


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Published by

Daniel Nest

I write stuff. I have a humor blog at Nest Expressed. I've written for Cracked and Listverse (where I'm also a freelance editor). You can find me on Twitter and Facebook.

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