Can Your DNA Really Tell You About Your Ancestors?With TV programs that use DNA analysis to suggest the ancestors of celebrities and how they might be related to other celebrities, people are subscribing to services that can analyze their DNA and perhaps reveal distant cousins, you might want to understand more about this “magical” technique. The original development of DNA analysis was directed at discovering how genetic factors could be related to disease and health. The slow cumbersome methods used in this human genome project accidently revealed non coding regions of an individual’s DNA that could be related to their parents. This discovery lead to the development of paternity testing and the use for forensic investigations. For these reasons, faster and more sensitive methods had to be developed to identify variants in the human genome. As data was accumulated, it was recognized that if many of the variations between humans was studied, the time and place of changes in the DNA might be established. If you are having your DNA tested, you are helping to build these databases that help us understand the ancient ancestral relations. This course will discuss what we know at present and how the analysis is done.
RALPH ALLEN is a Professor Emeritus University of Virginia (Departments of Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, and Public Health Sciences), Associate Vice President of Research (UVA), Director of Forensic Science programs for FBI-UVA National Academy, Chairman of Archaeological Chemistry Division of ACS, Graduate of University of Wisconsin (Madison) and Cornell College.
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