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The Genographic Project, launched on April 13 2005 by the National Geographic Society and IBM, is a five-year genetic anthropology study that aims to map historical human migration patterns by collecting and analyzing DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people from around the world.[1]

Contents

Overview

Field researchers at 10 regional centers around the world collect DNA samples from indigenous populations. The project also sells self-testing kits: for US$100 anyone in the world can order a kit with which a mouth scraping (buccal swab) is obtained, analyzed and the DNA information placed on an Internet accessible database. The genetic markers on mitochondrial DNA (HVR1) and Y-chromosomes (12 microsatellite markers and haplogroup-defining SNPs) are used to trace the customer's distant ancestry, and each customer is provided with their genetic history. As of April 2009 more than 300,000 people had bought a test kit.

The Genographic Project is undertaking widespread consultation with indigenous groups from around the world. Genographic Project public participation kits are processed by Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) using the Arizona Research Labs at the University of Arizona.

The US$40M project is a privately-funded, not-for-profit collaboration between the National Geographic Society, IBM and the Waitt Family Foundation. Part of the proceeds from the sale of self-testing kits support the Genographic Project's ongoing DNA collection[2], but the majority are ploughed into a Legacy Fund to be spent on cultural preservation projects nominated by indigenous communities.

Team members

Prominent team members are:

Use of genetic markers

The Genographic Project relies on the identification of genetic markers. Most human DNA is a shuffled combination of genetic material passed down the generations. There are, however, parts of the human genome that pass unshuffled from parent to child. These segments of DNA are only changed by occasional mutations—random spelling mistakes in the genetic code. When these spelling mistakes are passed down to succeeding generations, they become markers of descent. [3] Different populations have different genetic markers, and by following them through the generations scientists are able to identify the different branches of the human tree, all the way back to their common African root. Indigenous populations provide geographical and cultural context to the genetic markers in their DNA. These clues can help recreate past migration patterns. [4]

Criticism

See also: Archaeology of the Americas, Models of migration to the New World

Shortly after the announcement of the project in April 2005, the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism, (IPCB), released a statement protesting about the project, its connections with the HGDP, and called for a boycott of IBM, Gateway Computers, and National Geographic. Around May 2006, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recommended suspending the project.[5][6] Concerns were that the knowledge gleaned from the research could clash with long held beliefs leading to the destruction of their culture. They also feared that it could endanger land rights and other benefits.

In May of 2006, the representatives of Indigenous went to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues contesting any involvement in the testing. “The Genographic Project is exploitative and unethical because it will use Indigenous peoples as subjects of scientific curiosity in research that provides no benefit to Indigenous peoples, yet subjects them to significant risks. Researchers will take blood or other bodily tissue samples for their own use in order to further their own speculative theories of human history.”[1]

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues conducted investigations into the objectives of the Genographic Project, and concluded that since the project was "conceived and has been initiated without appropriate consultation with or regard for the risks to its subjects, the Indigenous peoples, the Council for Responsible Genetics concludes that the Indigenous peoples’ representatives are correct and that the Project should be immediately suspended.[1]

As of December 2006 some federally recognized tribes in North America have declined to take part. "What the scientists are trying to prove is that we’re the same as the Pilgrims except we came over several thousand years before,” said Maurice Foxx, chairman of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs and a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag. "Why should we give them that openly?"[5] However, more than 50,000 indigenous participants from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe had joined the project as of April 2009.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c http://www.gene-watch.org/programs/privacy/ResponsibleGenographics.html
  2. ^ Michael Shapiro (October/November 2007). "The Ancestors' Ancestors". Hana Hou! Vol. 10 #5. http://www.hanahou.com/pages/Magazine.asp?Action=DrawArticle&ArticleID=619&MagazineID=39. Retrieved 2007-10-18.  
  3. ^ "Genetic Signposts" (National Geographic Xpeditions).
  4. ^ "Genographic:Permanent Markers" (The Genographic Project), National Geographic.
  5. ^ a b "DNA Gatherers Hit Snag: Tribes Don’t Trust Them",by Amy Harmon of The New York Times, December 10, 2006
  6. ^ "United Nations Recommends Halt to Genographic Project". http://ipcb.org/issues/human_genetics/htmls/unpfii_rec.html.  

External links

Official sites

Supporting participants

News articles

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Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010
(Redirected to The Genographic Project article)

From Familypedia

The Genographic Project, launched in April 2005, is a five-year genetic anthropology study that aims to map historical human migration patterns by collecting and analyzing DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people across five continents. It is being billed as the "moon shot of anthropology."

Contents

Overview

Field researchers will collect DNA samples from indigenous populations as well as allow for public participation. For US$100 anyone in the world can order a self-testing kit from which a mouth scraping (saliva swab) is obtained, analyzed and the DNA information placed on an Wikipedia:Internet accessible database. The process will be completely anonymous and will not test for medically relevant traits. Instead Wikipedia:genetic markers on Wikipedia:Mitochondrial DNA and Wikipedia:Y-chromosomes will be used to trace distant ancestry, and each participant is provided with their genetic history. As of June 2007, more than 210,000 people have participated.

The US$40m project is a privately-funded, non-profit collaboration between the Wikipedia:National Geographic Society, Wikipedia:IBM and the Waitt Family Foundation. Proceeds from the sale of self-testing kits will be ploughed into a Legacy Fund to be spent on cultural preservation projects nominated by indigenous communities.

Prominent team members are:

The project has drawn comparison with the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP). The Genographic Project leaders have said that they will make the information from their project public, and that the project is undertaking widespread consultation with indigenous groups. Some of the members of the Genographic Project were key members of the HGDP as well; the Advisory Board, for example, includes Wikipedia:Luigi Cavalli-Sforza, the Wikipedia:geneticist who originally proposed the HGDP.[1]

Problems

See also: Wikipedia:Archaeology of the Americas, Models of migration to the New World

Shortly after the announcement of the project in April 2005, the Wikipedia:Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism, (IPCB), released a statement protesting the project, its connections with the HGDP, and called for a boycott of IBM, Wikipedia:Gateway Computers, and National Geographic. Around May of 2006, the Wikipedia:United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recommended suspending the project.

As of December 2006 almost every federally recognized tribe in North America has declined to take part. "What the scientists are trying to prove is that we’re the same as the Pilgrims except we came over several thousand years before,” said Maurice Foxx, chairman of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs and a member of the Wikipedia:Mashpee Wikipedia:Wampanoag. "Why should we give them that openly?"[1] However, more than 25,000 indigenous participants from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe have joined the project as of June 2007.

See also

Genographic Project general public test kits are processed by Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) using the Arizona Research Labs at the Wikipedia:University of Arizona.

Notes

  1. ^ "DNA Gatherers Hit Snag: Tribes Don’t Trust Them", by Amy Harmon of Wikipedia:The New York Times, December 10, 2006.

External links

Official sites

Supporting participants

News articles

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This article uses material from the "The Genographic Project" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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