Category: Ancestry

More than Just a Parable: The Genetic History of the Samaritans

Upon hearing the name "Samaritans," many people are immediately reminded of the famous passage from the Gospel of Luke (10: 25-37), the so called ‘Good Samaritan’ parable. Jesus tells of a Levite (a Jew) who is beaten and left on the side of the road. None who pass by the injured man stop to help, save a ...

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Recommended Reading: Mapping Human History

For more than a century anthropologists have studied the multitude of cultures and ethnicities that exist across the globe, delving deep into the various ways that populations develop their own unique identities. With the development of genetic anthropology over the last 15 years, scientists have begun to ...

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A Different Kind of Gene Mapping: Comparing Genetic and Geographic Structure in Europe: The Return!

By Chris Gignoux and Brenna Henn Early human history was characterized by many rapid, long-distance migrations. But despite our beginnings as travelers, genetic evidence published online last Sunday in Nature indicates that after expanding to all corners of the earth people (at least those in Europe) ...

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Genes and Languages: Not So Strange Bedfellows?

Throughout the history of our species there has been one constant:  movement.  Since the origin of Homo sapiens nearly 200,000 years ago in East Africa, humans have journeyed around the globe, ultimately inhabiting every continent save Antarctica.Scientists have traditionally used archaeology, and more ...

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Recommended Reading: “The Seven Daughters of Eve”

If anybody could turn the history of genetic anthropology into a page-turner, it would be Bryan Sykes. Sykes, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Oxford, has spent the better of part the last 25 years decoding the mystery of our species’ genetic ancestry through mitochondrial DNA analysis. He ...

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A Different Kind of Gene Mapping: Comparing Genetic and Geographic Structure in Europe

By Chris Gignoux and Mike Macpherson It should be no surprise that in general, we are more genetically similar to our neighbors than to people living far away. The reason is fairly simple — until recently in human history it was fairly rare for people from widely separated geographic regions to even meet, ...

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Did Neanderthals and Humans Mate? The Answer, Again, is No

(Ed: Newer research suggests that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals did in fact interbreed. On average, two to four percent of DNA in present-day humans who trace their ancestry from Europe or Asia comes from our Neanderthal cousins. 23andMe customers can check out their own Neanderthal ancestry here! -- ...

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The Origins of Pastoralism in Africa: What do the Genes Say

This guest post is by Brenna Henn, a doctoral student in Stanford University's Department of Anthropology and a 23andMe consultant. Brenna studies human evolution using genetic information. Her interests include the origin of modern humans, migration patterns among African groups, and genetic models of ...

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The Origin of Farming in Europe: A View from the Y Chromosome

This guest post is by Roy King, who is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University and a research colleague of Stanford geneticist and 23andMe scientific adviser Peter Underhill. Roy and Peter have been using genetics to trace the spread of agriculture from the Near East to Europe. The question of ...

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I’m No Neanderthal, and Neither Are You

(Ed: Newer research suggests that Homo sapiens and Neanderthals did in fact interbreed. On average, two to four percent of DNA in present-day humans who trace their ancestry from Europe or Asia comes from our Neanderthal cousins. 23andMe customers can check out their own Neanderthal ancestry here! -- ...

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