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Ground breaking technique offers DNA 'Sat Nav' direct to your ancestor's home 1,000 years ago
Date:4/30/2014

Tracing where your DNA was formed over 1,000 years ago is now possible due to a revolutionary technique developed by a team of international scientists led by experts from the University of Sheffield.

The ground breaking Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool, 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, works similarly to a satellite navigation system as it helps you to find your way home, but not the one you currently live in but rather your actual ancestor's home from 1,000 years ago.

Previously, scientists have only been able to locate where your DNA was formed to within 700kms, which in Europe could be two countries away; however this pioneering technique has been 98 per cent successful in locating worldwide populations to their right geographic regions, and down to their village and island of origin.

The breakthrough of knowing where the gene pools that created your DNA were last mixed has massive implications for life-saving personalised medicine, advancing forensic science and for the study of populations whose ancestral origins are under debate, such as African Americans, Roma gypsies and European Jews.

Genetic admixture occurs when individuals from two or more previously separated populations begin interbreeding. This results in the creation of new gene pools representing a mixture of the founder gene pool.

Such processes are extremely common in history during migrations and invasions, for example, when the Vikings invaded Britain and Europe in the 11th Century and settled with locals some of them formed a new Viking-Anglo-Saxon gene pool, but some married other Vikings and maintained their original gene pool, allowing GPS to trace their Scandinavian origins.

Dr Eran Elhaik said: "If we think of our world as being made up of different colours of soup representing different populations - it
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Contact: Amy Pullan
a.l.pullan@sheffield.ac.uk
01-142-229-859
University of Sheffield
Source:Eurekalert

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