Science

Family tree with 27 million ancestors is largest ever

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everyone is interested to know one’s own origin. As Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey says, “A people without knowledge of their history, origin and culture are like a tree without roots”.

And the curiosity of two groups of researchers from Oxford University about these “roots” was such that even rivals came together to achieve a feat – they determined the largest family tree in history. (see video below).

The unprecedented study shows a network with nearly 27 million ancestors over 100,000 years. The results were published in the journal Science.

network of links

Scientists at Oxford’s Big Data Institute used thousands of genomic data from individuals, including prehistoric data.

One of the study’s authors, evolutionary geneticist Yan Wong of the Big Data Institute, said in a press release that the research aims to piece together a genealogy for all of humanity. Also try to understand the story of the genetic variation that we find in humans today.

“This is the largest human family tree ever created, which included approximately 3,600 people from all over the world. We were able to bring all of this data together into this huge web of connections between people, through a genetic link using their DNA” , he argued.

The search used DNA from eight different databases and included a total of 3,609 individual sequences from 215 populations.

To understand the combination of all the trees, known as a “tree sequence” or “ancient recombination plot,” the researchers needed to cross-reference the current data with the genetic regions of the ancestors where the variation first appeared.

human evolution

Although limited, the data still captured major events in the history of human evolution. An example is the migration out of Africa, which for study means the early dispersal of Homo sapiens from East Africa to Eurasia and beyond. A video of this research shows all the movement of people between continents.

Use the tree as scaffolding, the team conducted a geographic analysis, to see when and where the theoretical ancestors of their sampled populations probably lived.

From there, they not only found clear evidence of migration out of Africa, but also uncovered potential evidence of interactions between Homo sapiens and now-extinct hominids such as the Denisovans.

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