The Genographic Project is a combined project of National Geographic society and IBM. It was initially launched on April 13, 2005 and is a multi-year genetic anthropology research initiative led by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Spencer Wells.. (Anthropology is the study of humankind in all the aspects especially human culture or human development. It differs from sociology as it is more related to history.)
With the help of the Genographic Project, historical human migration patterns will be analysed by using DNA samples i.e. their collection and analysis from hundreds of thousands of people from around the world.
The project is also selling U.S. $99.95 (plus shipping and handling and tax if applicable) kit to anyone in the world with which a mouth scraping (buccal swab) is obtained. The mouth scraping is analysed and the DNA information is placed on an internet accessible database.
The genetic markers on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), for maternal lineage, and Y-chromosomes, for paternal lineage, are used to trace the participant’s distant ancestary and each customer is provided with their genetic history. Most human DNA is a shuffled combination of genetic material passed down the generations. Some parts of the human genome, however, passed unshuffled from one generation to the next. When this unshuffled information continue to pass on succeeding generations they become markers. Different populations have different markers and by following them through the generations scientists may become able to identify different branches of the human tree all the way back to start of the humanity.
As on April 2011, more than 400,000 people bought a test kit. The Project is anonymous, non-medical, non-profit and all results will be placed in the public domain following scientific peer publication.
References and Further Reading:
https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/index.html accessed 02 June, 2011.
http://www.ibm.com/solutions/genographic/us/en/ accessed 02 June, 2011.