Posts Tagged ‘DNA Sampling’

This is a general outline of the methodology used by the B08 Origins Team, when performing their DNA testing.

Before testing can begin, permission to use humans as subjects must be obtained. The B08 group received this clearance from the WPI Institutional Review Board, by filling out the appropriate paperwork and submitting it for review.

Dr. David Comas outlined a general protocol for the collection of DNA samples in and around Venice. He stipulated that all of the participants should be male, and above the age of 18. They should not be related, directly (no siblings, fathers/sons, uncles/nephews, etc), and the grandparents of the participants should be from the same geographical area. Once these stipulations were met, each individual was to read and sign the informed consent paperwork. He also suggested that neighboring regions, such as Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino Alto, Adige, Lombarida and Emilia Romagna (etc.) be tested as well.  

The informed consent paperwork outlines the purpose of the project, collection procedure, storage of the sample, potential risks and benefits for the individual, and declaration of confidentiality.

Once the paperwork is signed, the individual is then subject to the cheek swab, administered by one of the IQP group members. The swab is opened, and removed, carefully, so as not to touch the collection tip. The collection tip is then scraped firmly against the inside of the participant’s cheek (roughly about 5-6 times, or 10 seconds). The tip is then ejected, using the plunger at the end of the handle, into the appropriately labeled 2mL microcentrifuge tube. Each participant then receives an information card that has their sample number and directions to obtain information on their sample via the Genographic website.

There is not much mention of how they targeted their subjects. Further research must be done to determine the best way to do so.

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The Phoenicians were an ancient sea-faring culture that dominated the ancient world at one time. They were known for their impressive ships, purple cloth and developing an alphabet. The Phoenicians are not a modern culture, but there is no doubt that they left quite a legacy. This legacy has become the driving force behind the research of Spencer Wells (a National Geographic emerging explorer) and Pierre Zalloua (a geneticist at the American University of Beirut). Their collective goal is to learn whether the modern fishermen in Tyre, Lebanon are the descendents of the Phoenicians.

They plan to collect blood samples from the fishermen in Lebanon, in addition to men in other places that the Phoenicians used to occupy and visit. Certain mutations arose on the Y chromosome of Phoenicians. These mutations were passed generation to generation of males, and still exist today.  They traveled to Tunisia, North Africa, which used to be the ancient city of Carthage. It was a place that Phoenicians were known to be traders.  

Based on their DNA analysis, it was discovered that the Phoenicians were the same people as the Canaanites. They were the ancestors of today’s Lebanese population. Additionally, it was found that there was a small impact on Tunisia, due to the fact that they probably did not mix with the people of Carthage.

This research was funded by the National Geographic Society.

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The Genographic Project is an effort funded by National Geographic and IBM. It is generally understood that mankind came from Africa. This project is looking to find out more about the migratory pattern of humans out of Africa. They want to know what kind of an impact culture has had on the genetic variation of humans. They also want to determine how the traditions of cultures has impacted genetic diversity.

To reach these goals scientists have been collecting DNA samples from males, 18 and older, from all over the world. These samples are then categorized and analyzed. Over itme, the human genome mutates and takes on a slightly modified form. These mutations are passed on to the next generation. Using these various mutations, scientists can track lineage. 

The Genographic Project is asking for participants from all over the world. For a fee, an individual will be sent a kit to take a sample of his or her DNA. The sample is then sent to one of 10 laboratories all over the world. The funds generated from these kits are put into the Genographic Legacy Fund. This fund “aims to empower indigenous and traditional peoples by supporting locally-led efforts that can also raise global awareness about the cultural loss indigenous and traditional communities face.” These projects range from preserving the craft of embroidery in Gaza to educating students in Ecuador about their heritage.

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