24 September 2007

Need help on your family tree?

Coming Soon: The Mother of All Genealogy Databases

From the article:

A team of computer scientists, mathematicians and biologists have come up with a computer algorithm that can trace the ancestry of thousands of people in a few minutes based on a DNA sample, according to the September 2007 edition of the journal PLoS Genetics. The researchers claim that their method is 99% accurate. They plan to build a massive database of people and how they’re related.

A wide range of similar projects are in the works all over the world. For example, the Russian-British project is using DNA analysis to trace the Russian descendants of Britons who migrated to Russia centuries ago.

For the past few years, DNA tests designed to reveal where one’s ancestors came from has become popular among African Americans. The tests, which cost less than $400, work by comparing DNA to samples collected from people living all over the world. For example, if an American like Oprah Winfrey has a lot of DNA that matches the DNA of people currently living in Liberia, then she can be assumed to have descended from Liberians (which is, in fact, the case).

These are just three of the many DNA-based genealogy databases under construction.

Source: Computerworld

Thanks to an enterprising cousin, sister and other family members I know what my DNA string would probably tell me, but wouldn't this be wonderful for someone who was adopted or who had lost touch with their heritage?

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