The Genographic Project

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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."


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]


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 alsoEdit

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


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

External linksEdit

Official sites

Supporting participants

News articles

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