Technology

DNA ‘Sat-Nav’ Lets You Find Exactly Where Your Ancestors Lived 1,000 Years Ago

A new groundbreaking Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool has claimed to effortlessly locate the precise location of your ancestors who lived 1,000 years ago.

DNA

It’s possible to trace your family tree and discover where your relatives came from without the use of any advanced technologies; all you need is some enduring investigation, however tracing where your ancestors lived 1,000 years ago sounds impossible.

A new groundbreaking Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool has claimed to effortlessly locate the precise location of your ancestors who lived 1,000 years ago. This may sound like one of those tongue-in-cheek humors, but it’s not.

Created by Dr. Eran Elhaik from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences and Dr. Tatiana Tatarinova from the University of Southern California, the tool works in the same way as a satellite navigation system, it helps you find your way home, but not the one you’re currently at – but rather your actual ancestor’s home from 1,000 years ago. In some cases, the tool can even identify a specific village or tribe and island of origin.

Earlier tools were only accurate to locate whereabouts of the ancestors around 700 Km, which in Europe could be two countries away, however the new technique has been 98% successful in locating worldwide populations.

To determine how accurate the GPS tool is, data from 10 villages in Sardinia and over 20 islands in Oceania was examined and the results were published in Nature Communication.

It says the tool, applied to over 200 Sardinians villagers, could locate a quarter of residents in Sardinia directly to their home village and most of the rest within 50km of their village. For Oceania and Southeast Asia, GPS assignment accuracy was higher than than the one obtained for worldwide populations with almost 90% success of tracing islanders exactly to their island.

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To help people find their roots, Dr Tatiana Tatarinova developed a website known as Prosapia Genetics; it allows anyone who has had their DNA genotyped to upload their results and use GPS to find where their ancestors lived.

25 comments

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  2. Yes, but it would have to be several places, wouldn’t it? I mean, our ancestors didn’t all come from the same place. And at what point does the dna stop and say, oh hey guys, that’s it, I can’t go any further?. If it was really, really accurate, surely everybody in the world would be directed to some riverbed in east Africa?

    1. It gets more complicated ’cause DNA has been playing an important role in functioning of life – growth and reproducing – since 4.6 billion years ago. Based on timeline of evolution, I think it will lead us to the very beginning ( or, even before 4.6 billion years) where earth started maintaining diversity of life forms.

      1. Yeah, technically there will be no limit as the study is entirely based only on person’s DNA. Maybe, I exaggerated a little bit or we can set a certain point where we want our DNA to lead us to. 😉

  3. That is so interesting. I’ve seen tv programmes where people who’ve had their DNA genotyped have been introduced to ‘relatives’. I’d love to do that. The only flaw is, surely we have so many ancestors, which place would the process take us to?

    1. It could be anywhere. It could be caves or hills or even not-very-far from the place you are currently at – anywhere your mind can imagine or even beyond.

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