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Tracing Genetic Ancestry in Humans - Research Paper Example

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Ancestral origin is sought to try to complete one’s identity. In addition, some people would like to know their ancestral lineage, since the association to a group that big adds a sense of belonging to humans inherently seeking social relevance. Somehow, the ancestral lineage, no matter what it consists of, becomes part of the family, and a group that huge has certainly made relevant contributions in history, no matter how old or recent those contributions were…
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Tracing Genetic Ancestry in Humans
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Download file to see previous pages Before the advent of molecular technology, ancestral lineage is based on the recollection of and stories passed by the oldest living family member to the younger family members. People born from the same continent also have some attachment, as it seems logical to think they could have come from the same ancestors because of the proximity of their parents with one another. Now, DNA analysis becomes a way of objectively verifying those theories. By comparing the nucleotide sequences of samples against a sequence database from more than 75, 000 indigenous and traditional populations from all over the world, (Biological and Environmental Research Information System, 2010), DNA sequence unique to people from a certain continent, country, town, village or family may be identified (Rotimi, 2003). These populations are each composed of people living within a particular region for several generations and maintaining the same culture (Biological and Environmental Research Information System, 2010). Anyone who would like to determine his or her group of origin can thus look for these unique sequences in his or her own genome. An example of a population seeking to define their ancestral origin and the populations that have the same ancestors is African-Americans. Certainly, the parallelism in their experiences with slavery and obvious similarities in appearance motivate the effort of linking African-Americans with modern-day Africans. The results of many DNA studies suggest that the common female (140, 000 years old) and male (60, 000 years old) ancestors of modern humans are from Africa. Migration started 65, 000 years ago, when they populated southern Asia, China, Java and Europe (Biological and Environmental Research Information System, 2010). Such movement has caused a modern human population, such as African-American, to be genetically-diverse. For example, African-Americans can have a European Y-chromosome because of the historical admixture of African farming employees to European plantation owners (www.rootsforreal.com). As well, in a study of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University analyzing the genetic make-up of 365 African-Americans, 203 people from 12 West African populations, and 400 Europeans from 42 countries, it was found that African-Americans had as little as 1% and as much as 99% West African ancestry. The genetic sequences implicating West African origin was also found to be similar to those of Igbo and Yoruba from Nigeria and Bantu-speaking populations in Western Africa. In addition, their median proportion of European ancestry is 18.5%. Specifically, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) origin (mothers) were mostly African, while the Y chromosome (fathers) were African or European (http://www.physorg.com/news180632039.html, 2010). Which tools can be used to determine such ancestral connections? Let us start with the most superficial. If an individual would like to verify connections between him or her and an alleged relative, he or she can request for a DNA fingerprinting test. Using certain sequences at 16 chromosomes, the possibility of a blood relationship is calculated (www.rootsforreal.com). As mentioned earlier, matching mtDNA and/or Y-chromosome with the database of samples from different populations can be done to determine ancestral roots. These ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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