Posts Tagged ‘family’

Connecting via common ancestors and Genographics – Interview with Wolfgang Haak

// December 8th, 2010 // Comments Off on Connecting via common ancestors and Genographics – Interview with Wolfgang Haak // Recent Research, Science Communication

At the Genographic Event at the RiAus I also interviewed Dr Wolfgang Haak, who spoke about Y-chromosome markers to determine paternal ancestry. He’s been involved in the Genographic Project for three and a half years.

What are the benefits of understanding ancestry?

It’s pretty much a personal thing, at the end of the day, because I suppose everyone’s interested in his or her own genetic history. This is my personal driving force, finding out more about myself. Where’s my place in this planet, in this world, where do I tie into the global picture? That’s a big motivation for me, and as I find out more as I work with people that it’s the same motor or driving force with them as well.

We share a common ancestry after all, there’s a common interest in our genetic history as well.

What first attracted you to the Genographic Project?

I have always been interested in genetics, but I actually come from an anthropologic background and genetics is certainly a part of that. I also come from an Ancient DNA lab. This was a step further into more modern population genetics. This is about getting both things together. Having a modern day perspective, plus adding a timely depth to that picture that we get from modern day diversity.

Tell us about your own ancestry, have you genotyped yourself?

Yes, I’ve done both. Mitochondrial, I’m haplogroup H, and I can further pin that down to group H1, so that is a Palaeolithic, Mesolithic one that might have come into Europe prior to the last glacial maximum, around modern day Spain or Italy or even a South Eastern refuge. It’s not entirely clear but we’ll find out over the next couple of years.

On the paternal side its even more enigmatic. I’m part of a North African lineage that probably originated around the Horn of Africa, so there’s that connection on the Eastern side of Africa where it connects to Saudi Arabia, and that has a high frequency there into the Nile Valley, and from it spreads into South Eastern Europe. Not entirely sure when it spread across the Mediterranean region, but probably historic times rather than prehistoric times.

The Genographic Project in Adelaide

// December 8th, 2010 // Comments Off on The Genographic Project in Adelaide // Science Communication

The Genographic Project in Adelaide

Last night I was lucky enough to attend the Genographic Project event at the RiAus, where they discussed results of samples collected from the Adelaide public.

The event was a huge success. Every seat was full, and I was fortunate to find a spot tucked in a corner. And that despite the torrential rain that hit earlier in the afternoon, blocking traffic around the city.

One thing that really struck me about the night was the feeling of connection. The billions of humans around today arose from small populations 50,000 years ago. If you start looking back far enough, you share the same ancestral group as the stranger sitting three rows down. In a sense we’re all brothers and sisters.

As more people become involved in the project, we find out more about where and when different groups migrated around the globe. Being involved makes you a piece of the puzzle that will uncover our stories, which have been lost to the past.






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