In an unprecedented effort, IBM and the National Geographic Society are partnering to map how humans populated Earth. Arguably the most ambitious "genetic anthropology" research initiative in history, the Genographic Project will use advanced computer analysis of DNA from hundreds of thousands of people to reveal the deep migratory history of the human species. And, you and your families can participate, uncovering secrets of your own ancestral journey in the process.
The Genographic Project is a five-year research partnership between National Geographic and IBM with support from the Waitt Family Foundation, and public participation through Family Tree DNA. More about it can be found here.
As part of the five-year partnership, field scientists will collect more than 100,000 DNA samples from 10 remote and isolated indigenous populations on six continents. These people's DNA is known to contain key genetic markers that have remained relatively unadulterated for hundreds of generations, and thus provides remarkably reliable indicators of common lineage that can be used to trace human migration. With the samples in hand, IBM researchers will use sophisticated computer techniques to analyze that data and report the comprehensive results.
"We see this as the 'moon shot' of anthropology, using genetics to fill in the gaps in our knowledge of human history," said project leader and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Spencer Wells. "Our DNA carries a story that is shared by everyone. Over the next five years we'll be deciphering that story, which is now in danger of being lost as people migrate and mix to a much greater extent than they have in the past."
Proceeds will help underwrite ongoing research efforts. Any funds that remain when the Genographic Project finishes in 2010 will support programs for cultural preservation and enrichment of the 10 indigenous native groups at the core of the study.
Participation in the Genographic Project is done on an anonymous basis. Your DNA results will be used without association with your name; there is no record or database that links test results with the names of their contributors.
The same markers used in genealogy DNA testing is used in this project -- the 12 marker set.
If you participate in a Family Tree DNA surname project, you are given the opportunity to join the Genographic Project without having to order a kit and perform a new test. You will be asked to agree to the Project's consent terms, and contribute with a nominal fee. Proceeds from this fee will be directed to the Legacy Project which will support local education and cultural preservation efforts to benefit the participating indigenous populations.
By following the simple steps provided by FTDNA, you will be able to upload your 12-marker results and/or your mtDNA to the Genographic Project and keep track of the progress of this fascinating project. You will be provided a Genographic Project ID (GPID) for your Y-DNA12 results. You can log into your personal record at the Genographic Project by using your GPID at the following web page:
[Webmaster's note: Some of this information was published on the IBM Website for IBM employees.]