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January 15, 2012 (Vol. 32, No. 2)

The Genographic Project

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Personal DNA kits seem to be popping up everywhere these days, and National Geographic is no exception. However, the kits available through National Geographic are but an optional “audience participation” aspect of the Genographic Project, the results of which interested readers can explore online for no cost at all! DNA samples collected as part of the Genographic Project are used to trace the migratory history of the human species, using maternal markers from mitochondrial DNA and paternal markers from the Y chromosome. On the project’s website, visitors can explore the “atlas of the human journey,” which illustrates the migratory patterns established from the project. The “journey highlights” tab provides short blurbs of information on the milestones that early humans encountered during their migrations. Additionally, the rotatable and interactive “globe of human history” is a joy to explore. In total, there is much to learn on the Genographic Project’s website…no cheek swab or DNA kit required!

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