Tag: mtDNA

Recalibrating the Genetic Clock: Scientists Develop New and Improved Method for Timing Prehistoric Human Migrations Using Mitochondrial DNA

Just over 20 years ago, the first study using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to trace prehistoric human migrations was published. In this seminal study, scientists managed to determine that all humans alive today can trace their maternal ancestry back to one woman who lived about 200,000 years ago in Africa. The ...

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Leaving No Stone Unturned: DNA Analysis Confirms Identities of Missing Romanovs

There are many mysteries surrounding the final days of the last Emperor of Russia, Tsar Nicholas, and his family.  The most perplexing of them all is the fate of one of the Tsar's daughters, the Grand Duchess Anastasia.  Even after Bolsheviks  murdered the family in the summer of 1918, rumors circulated ...

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Reading Between the Lines: An Unlikely Use for Mitochondrial DNA Analysis

At the Spittoon we love to hear how scientists are using our DNA to unlock the mysteries of our ancestors.  In fact, hardly a week goes by when we don’t report on the latest discovery in the field of genetic ancestry. Occasionally, however, researchers manage to uncover some mystery of the human past using ...

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Across the Pillars of Hercules: Recent Study Confirms Prehistoric Connection between Iberia and North Africa

Less than eight nautical miles wide, the Strait of Gibraltar is an easily surmountable barrier between northwest Africa and Spain. Military invaders such as Hannibal of Carthage and the caliphs of the Islamic Empire have had no trouble traversing this sliver of sea in the process of invading Europe. But in ...

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Where Today Meets Yesterday: A New Approach to Studying the Genetic History of Southeast Asia

Archaeologists rarely agree on anything.  So it's no surprise that for years two groups of scholars have drawn completely opposite conclusions about the relationship between the ancient people of Thailand and China. Some experts argue that, thousands of years ago, people from Thailand migrated into East ...

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ASHG Releases Ancestry Testing Statement Emphasizing Interpretation

The American Society for Human Genetics (ASHG) has released a statement outlining a set of recommendations for genetic ancestry testing. At a press briefing on Thursday, members of the ASHG Ancestry Testing Task Force Committee discussed two main themes: the need for clear communication about the ...

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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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Benvinguts a Barcelona: Notes from the 2008 Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference

This month I had the opportunity to go to the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution conference in the striking city of Barcelona. This is the premiere conference for geneticists studying evolution in everything from bacteria to fruit flies, weeds, worms and our favorite model organism, humans! This is a ...

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Haplogroups of the Rich and Famous

Jesse James One of the most engaging features of 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service is a customer’s ability to trace his or her genetic ancestry using the mitochondrial DNA and the Y-chromosome. Once customers learn their own ancestry, the Genome Sharing feature allows them to see how they compare with ...

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