The World’s Largest Family Tree?
How many people do you have documented in your family tree? 1,000 people? 10,000? 100,000? No, those are not record numbers.
Since the advent of online family trees and readily available DNA analysis became available, scientists have created far larger family trees. Would you believe one family tree of 27 million ancestors?
OK, so it’s not quite the same as your family tree or mine. For one thing, they don’t know the name of every single person in the family tree. They also don’t know the exact dates of birth or death of each individual. However, they do know a lot about these people. Dr. Anthony Wilder Wohns, lead author of the published study, explained further.
“Essentially, we are reconstructing the genomes of our ancestors and using them to form a vast network of relationships. We can then estimate when and where these ancestors lived.”
Every single human eventually listed in this family tree can trace his or her ancestry back to a spot of desert in the northeast of Sudan. It’s not far from the Nile river, and recent research from the Big Data Institute suggests it might be the homeland of every single person alive today.
They had to use data from eight different human genome databases to create their network of around 27 million ancestors, and used samples not just from modern humans, but our ancient relatives as well. The study models as exactly as we can the history that generated all the genetic variation we find in humans today.
They organizers claim that as data continues to become available they will add and improve the map. Evolutionary geneticist Dr. Yan Wong says, “As the quality of genome sequences from modern and ancient DNA samples improves, the trees will become even more accurate and we will eventually be able to generate a single, unified map that explains the descent of all the human genetic variation we see today.”
You can read more in an article in the TwistedSifter web site at: https://twistedsifter.com/2023/02/what-can-we-learn-from-the-worlds-largest-family-tree-take-a-look/
The study has been published in the Science.org web site at: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abi8264 with a title of: Genomics and human ancestral genealogy.