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Genealogical Tracing

Genealogical Tracing

As DNA is passed down from one generation to the next, some parts remain almost unchanged. This creates an unbreakable genetic link between generations, which can be used to reconstruct the history of ancient human migration. 

Materials for Genealogical Tracing

Interactive Tutorials

The Timeline of Ancient DNA

Description: How old is the oldest DNA ever sequenced? Find out in the Timeline of Ancient DNA. Zip through 32 fact-filled entries highlighting the exciting world of ancient DNA research. In the early 1980s, scientists began isolating ancient DNA from sources such as museum specimens, archaeological finds, fossil remains, fossilized feces, permafrost ice cores and other unusual sources of DNA. Not surprisingly, DNA from these specimens is of low quality, posing special technological challenges for ancient DNA analyses. Researchers in many fields are actively retrieving genetic information from ancient specimens, making ancient DNA research a fertile area of collaboration between research institutions and museums. Works on desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.

Tracing Ancestry

Description: An interactive genetic family tree demonstrating how mitochondrial DNA can be used to trace ancestry

Labs & Experiments

Genetic Origins - Mitochondrial Point Mutations

Description: A laboratory experiment illustrating how mitochondrial mutations can be used to retrace the common maternal lineage of humans

Genetic Origins - PV-92 Alu Insertion

Description: Instruction for a laboratory experiment illustrating differences in an allele frequency between world populations and discussion points

Teacher Resources

mtDNA: So What Did You Inherit from Your Mom? (PDF 26.75 KB, Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: This lesson examines the structure and function of mitochondria and its role in evolution

Roots: The Ancestry of Modern People (PDF 13.91 KB, Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: This lesson examines the two main models of the origin of modern humans. Students can map the movements of early humans, consider what it takes to be a paleoanthropologist, write a news flash about Lucy’s discovery, chart a book plot about the adventures of an early hominid, and create a sketchbook of hominid fossils.

Genographic Project

Articles/Research

The Genographic Project

Description: Information on the Genographic Project, an effort to learn more about the ancient migratory history of humans

Highlights

How Reliable Are Home DNA Ancestry Tests - Investigation Uses Triplets to Find Out.

Description: Millions of people are purchasing home DNA kits like 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and Ancestry DNA, to unlock the secrets to their ancestry, but are the results always 100 percent reliable? To find out, Inside Edition enlisted the help of two sets of indistinguishable triplets and a set of indentical quadruplets to investigate the accuracy of the at-home tests.

Neanderthal DNA

Articles/Research

Ancient DNA and Neanderthals

Description: An article on the study of Neanderthal DNA retrieved from fossils

Extracting DNA from Neanderthal Bones

Description: A series of photographs illustrating how Neanderthal DNA is extracted from a fossilized bone

Genome Unlocking Lifes Code: Ancient DNA

Description: A basic introduction to Neanderthal DNA

Neanderthals, Human Interbred - First Solid DNA Evidence

Description: An article on the results of a study that investigated ancient Neanderthal and human mating

Interactive Tutorials

The Timeline of Ancient DNA

Description: How old is the oldest DNA ever sequenced? Find out in the Timeline of Ancient DNA. Zip through 32 fact-filled entries highlighting the exciting world of ancient DNA research. In the early 1980s, scientists began isolating ancient DNA from sources such as museum specimens, archaeological finds, fossil remains, fossilized feces, permafrost ice cores and other unusual sources of DNA. Not surprisingly, DNA from these specimens is of low quality, posing special technological challenges for ancient DNA analyses. Researchers in many fields are actively retrieving genetic information from ancient specimens, making ancient DNA research a fertile area of collaboration between research institutions and museums. Works on desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.

Video

Decoding Neanderthals

Description: A NOVA television program on Neanderthal DNA

Tracking Human Migration

Articles/Research

Genetic Anthropology, Ancestry, and Ancient Human Migration

Description: Information on genetic anthropology and human migration in a question and answer format

Global Gene Projects to Trace Humanity's Migration

Description: The National Geographic and IBM's combined effort to trace ancient human migration