Final Proposal

Here is a link to our final proposal, as a PDF file.

Origins 2009 Proposal: Unearthing the Roots of Venice: From Relics to DNA

Very soon we will start blogging from Venice. Ciao for now!


Proposal Final Draft

Here is where you can find our final draft of our proposal for our final advisor meeting:


Proposal Final Draft

You can find out proposal final draft here:


The Westminister Assembly Transcription Project is an effort to make the “unpublished manuscript writings of the Westminister Assembly and its members as freely and widely avaialable as possible.” Manuscripts written by members of the assembly were found, including correspondence, petitions, personal library lists, unpublished books, and early drafts of published works. This is not a commercialized program, and it is asking for the help of volunteers (scholar, pastor, graduate student, retiree or lay person) to help with the transcriptions.

If an individual wishes to be involved, he or she muswestminister assembly manuscriptt contact the Westminister Assembly Transcription Project, and will be given a test page to transcribe. If the page is found to have been relatively successfully transcribed, the individual will then  be given a manuscript to transcribe for the project. All completed pages will be advertised on the Westminister Assembly web site, added to the Westminister Assembly Digital Libaray (with the transcriber’s name included), and will be available to historians and scholars for purchase.

Debora Afezolli

Hello everyone,

My name is Debora Afezolli and I am 1/4 of Team Origins. I was born on April 17, 1989, and I’m currently a senior at WPI majoring in Bio/Biotechnology.

I love music, clothes, my friends, my family, and everything else that’s wonderful in the world.

Debora Afezolli

Debora Afezolli

Project Proposal Draft

Our project proposal draft can be found here:


Family Tree DNA is a service that provides the latest technology for genealogical research. They offer one of the largest DNA databases out of any company in the DNA business, with a total of 263,316 to date. Of these, 166,100 are Y-DNA records (what we will be collecting in Venice!) and 97,216 are mtDNA records.

They work in association with a scientific advisory board and also the University of Arizona Research Labs. The Family Tree’s chief scientist is Dr. Michael Hammer, whose expertise lies in the study of the variations of the Y chromosome as a model system to explore human evolution.

Population geneticist are able to use variations on the Y chromosome to create a phylogenetic family tree. The changes in the genetic code are known as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms  (SNPs), or simply base pair variations. Scientists are able to determine when these changes diverged from one another, and can subsequently create these elaborate family trees.

Human migration pattern according to Y-chromosome variations

Human migration pattern according to Y-chromosome variations

An SNP marks the a branch in the y-chromosome phylogenetic tree, and the branch points are known as haplogroups. These are named as A-T. The sub-branches are further known as subclades, which can also be tested by the Deep Clade Testing offered by the Family Tree DNA.

Origins are determined by the haplogroup: for example, Haplogroup E originated 50,000 years ago and has been linked to Neolithic expansion of peoples into Southern Europe.

Family Tree DNA actually provides the DNA tests to the Genographic Project, one of our sponsors. It might be worth our time to start a Venetian project with them, to specifically focus on the origins of its inhabitants.