Scientists create largest human family tree, dating back 100,000 years

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Feb 25, 2022, 11:09 PM(IST)

Human ancestors Photograph:( AFP )

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The research intends to offer a complete map of how individuals across the world are related to each other

In a major step towards mapping the entirety of genetic relationships among humans, scientists have created the largest human family tree ever made, allowing people to find out who their distant ancestors were.

The research, carried out by scientists from the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute, has compiled human genomes from a variety of sources —both ancient and modern DNA — to better understand human history and evolution.

The study, published on Thursday in the journal Science, predicts common ancestors, including approximately when and where they lived, they said.

"We have basically built a huge family tree, a genealogy for all of humanity that models as exactly as we can the history that generated all the genetic variation we find in humans today," said Yan Wong, an evolutionary geneticist at Oxford's Big Data Institute.

"This genealogy allows us to see how every person's genetic sequence relates to every other, along all the points of the genome," Wong, one of the principal authors of the study, explained.

The set of trees, known as a "tree sequence" or "ancestral recombination graph", links genetic regions back through time to ancestors where the genetic variation first appeared, they said.

The research intends to offer a complete map of how individuals across the world are related to each other.

The study integrated data on modern and ancient human genomes from eight different databases and included a total of 3,609 individual genome sequences from 215 populations, dating back to over 100,000 years.

The algorithms predicted where common ancestors must be present in the evolutionary trees to explain the patterns of genetic variation. The resulting network contained almost 27 million ancestors.

(With inputs from agencies)

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