Category: Ancestry

Did You Know? Ancestry is Not So Black and White

Data from the 2010 census showed that about 13% of people living in the United States self-identify as African American, but from a genetic point of view, ethnicity isn't so black and white. Most African Americans have genetic ancestry tracing back to both Africa and Europe but the exact proportion can vary ...

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Find Your Inner Neanderthal

They had bigger brains and muscles, but for some reason Neanderthals —thick boned humans who thrived for hundreds of thousands of years in Europe and parts of Asia— died out about 30,000 years ago, while we modern humans survived. Why we, Homo sapiens, flourished and our Homo neandertalensis cousins died ...

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Our Hidden African Ancestry

Update: A post at the blog Your Genetic Genealogist just went up with a very similar story to mine. Check it out.   It was just a few thin green segments on my fourth and seventh chromosomes that sent me searching. I wanted to know more about my family history. I pestered my mom with questions ...

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Stories From 23andMe: James Larry Vick and the “Black Dutch” of Newman’s Ridge

It started innocently enough with a simple question from his daughter. “Where did our family come from?” (Image from Larry Vick's blog) For 20 years Larry Vick has been trying to answer that question. His first source was a chart drawn up by an uncle, but since then Vick has turned to old Census files, ...

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Genes, Languages and Artifacts Yield Insights Into African Prehistory

The author during her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya. As a Peace Corps volunteer teaching in Kenya 25 years ago, I was fascinated by the cultural, linguistic, and physical differences among the people of eastern Africa. One of our Kenyan trainers took us to a "boma" where his tall, ...

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2009 Spittoon Highlights – Part 2

In our last post we highlighted a few of the coolest (in our opinion!) health-related developments of 2009.  But human genetics isn't all about disease.  Here are a few more favorites: The Romanovs 2009 saw the identification of the remains of the missing members of this Russian royal family, as well as ...

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Life on the Fringe: Shrews and Voles Reveal Clues to British Prehistory

Through the millennia wave after wave of migrants - often in the form of invading armies – have descended upon the British Isles. The first people to arrive after the Ice Age were hunter-gatherers who followed their prey north from southern Europe about 12,000 years ago. The Celts came from central Europe ...

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What Makes Us Human? Study Finds Hints By Comparing Chimp and Human DNA

We may be another step closer to discovering what makes us human. A new study published online this week in Genome Research has pinpointed three genes in humans that may genetically differentiate us from chimps and other primates. Genetically we are very similar to chimps, so most of the differences ...

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New Study on Genetics of Ethnic Groups Reveals We May Not Be So Different After All

There are many examples around the world of two distinct ethnic groups living side by side. Sometimes these groups co-exist peacefully. Other times they do not. Often two groups' differences - along with circumstantial factors - lead to tension between them and sometimes violence. The Hutus and Tutsis ...

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Ancient DNA Analysis Reveals Family Ties in Ruins of Pompeii

On August 20, 79 AD, a series of small tremors and earthquakes began to shake the two ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.  Lying in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius — about 150 miles south of the Roman capital — the two cities were often hit by tremors and earthquakes, so most residents were ...

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