Posts Tagged ‘phylogenetic tree’

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.

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