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Human Genes Used to Map European Origin


Many people have a European background, although most people do not know exactly where in a particular country their ancestors originate. Now, research scientists have devised statistical DNA sampling techniques that allow them to determine an individual’s European ancestry to within a couple of hundred kilometers.

As described in New Scientist, the process is based on the premise that in the past people moved slowly and tended to mate with close neighbours. As well, over the centuries the general migration pattern in Europe has been from South to North, resulting in little genetic variation in England, Ireland and Scandinavia in the north and much more genetic variation farther south where there was further genetic intermixing.

Sampling subtle differences in DNA has allowed research scientists to overlay a map of genetic DNA with a geographic map of Europe to pinpoint the origin of an individual. Even though it may be several years before this technique is commercialized, it is certainly a promising new tool for genealogists.

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