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Feb 28, 2022

The ‘Unified Genealogy of Modern and Ancient Humans’

With more than 3,600 individual genome sequences that date back more than 100,000 years, scientists have unveiled the largest human family tree ever created, providing an unprecedented glimpse into the deep past and complex present of our species.

The immense family tree was stitched together from existing datasets and contains modern genetic information from around the world as well as samples from extinct human relatives such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. Scientists led by Anthony Wilder Wohns, who conducted the research while earning a PhD at the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute, were able to confirm major events in human history from this integrated framework, such our species’ migration out of Africa, while also encountering surprises about past populations that will require more research to understand.

The outcome is a “unified genealogy of modern and ancient humans” that demonstrates the power of computational methods “to recover relationships between individuals and populations as well as to identify descendants of ancient samples,” according to a study published on Thursday in Science.

“Although much work is still required to build the genealogy of everyone, the methods presented here provide a solution to this fundamental task,” the researchers concluded in the study.

You can read more in an article by Becky Ferreira published in the Vice.com web site at: https://bit.ly/3BTa6u2 and in a different article by Ben Cost available in the New York Post at: https://nypost.com/2022/02/25/world-record-family-tree-links-27-million-people/.