Genealogy enthusiasts mine DNA for clues to evolutionary history - November 2007
If you've ever sat down with a great aunt to reconstruct your family history, wondered if you might be related to Genghis Khan, or tried to calculate what portion of your genes come from that rowdy great-grandparent that your dad never wants to talk about, you might be tempted to try out the latest in genealogy research: DNA. Last month saw the launch of GeneTree.com, a business combining social networking with genetic testing. For a fee, GeneTree will use the DNA in a sample of your cheek cells (collected with a special mouthwash) to "discover your deepest ancestral roots." With advances in DNA technology, some genetic tests are relatively easy to perform, and GeneTree joins more than 20 other companies aiming to unravel ancestry via DNA tests. But what are the limits of these tests? An evolutionary perspective helps reveal whether these companies can deliver on their promises.
Evo in the news archive
Many exciting newspaper headlines result from the application of evolutionary theory to scientific research. Every month we examine the evolution angle behind these current news stories. Browse our archive to see past stories.
This site was created by the University of California Museum of Paleontology with support provided by the National Science Foundation (grant no. 0096613) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (grant no. 51003439).