The Human Journey and DNA Testing

The Human Journey

The Genographic Project

The Human Family Tree

The Journey of Man

When humans first ventured out of Africa some 60,000 years ago, they left genetic footprints still visible today. By mapping the appearance and frequency of genetic markers in modern peoples, we create a picture of when and where ancient humans moved around the world. These great migrations eventually led the descendants of a small group of Africans to occupy even the farthest reaches of the Earth.

The Human Journey: Migration Routes


The USGenWeb Project

National Archives

Family Tree DNA

Family history

In recent decades, DNA tests were mainly used to prove paternity. But since 2000, a handful of companies have commercialized tests that connect a wider array of relatives, sometimes going back centuries to find common ancestors.

As recently as 2007, such tests cost as much as $1,000. Today, they generally run between $100 and $300 and offer users more information. In May, Inc., a publisher of genealogical records and a site where people can track their family trees, started selling a DNA test that identifies relatives up to and including fifth cousins.

Finding a Few Hundred Cousins: Tools that can trace your roots are becoming more advanced—and less expensive

While it can’t provide you with your entire family tree or tell you who your ancestors are, DNA testing can:

– Determine if two people are related
– Determine if two people descend from the same ancestor
– Find out if you are related to others with the same surname
– Prove or disprove your family tree research
– Provide clues about your ethnic origin

DNA tests have been around for many years, but it is only recently that the cost of genetic testing has finally come down into the realm of possibility for the average individual interested in tracing their roots. Home DNA test kits can be ordered through the mail or over the Internet at a cost averaging $100-$400 per test. They usually consist of a cheek swab or mouthwash to easily collect a sample of cells from the inside of your mouth. You send back the sample through the mail and within a month or two you receive the results – a series of numbers that represent key chemical “markers” within your DNA. These numbers can then be compared to results from other individuals to help you determine your ancestry.

DNA Family Trees: Tracing Your Ancestry Through DNA

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