Ten years ago, a group of international scientists and indigenous community members gathered at National Geographic Society’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. to kick off the Genographic Project. Our plan: To use advanced DNA analyses to answer fundamental scientific questions, such as where we originated from, and how we came to populate the earth.
Since then, more than 700,000 people have participated in the Genographic Project by submitting their DNA, becoming citizen scientists and enabling us to rewrite human history.
To summarize ten amazing years, which are thanks to overwhelming support from the public, we’ve compiled the Top Ten Genographic Highlights from our first decade.
10. Inspiring a Haplogroup Honeymoon: An uber-enthusiastic participant from Sleepy Hollow, Illinois and his equally charmed fiancee, participated in the Genographic Project and used what they learned about their ancestry to determine their honeymoon destination. After receiving their results, the couple settled on Kenya, Africa, a place in the world where their ancient ancestors crossed paths hundreds of thousands of years ago. True love, science style.
9. Showcasing the World’s Melting Pot: On a single day, on a single street, and with the DNA of just a few hundred random people from Queens, New York, The Genographic Project set out to trace the ancestral footsteps of all humanity. The effort, part of the 2009 National Geographic Channel documentary, The Human Family Tree, established Queens as a true microcosm of the world’s genetic diversity.
8. Uncovering the Skeletons in Europe’s Closet: Two landmark studies published in 2012 and 2013 on ancient DNA in Europe, reshaped our understanding of early settlement of the continent–untangling the complex wave of migrations and interactions that underlie the genetic origins of Europeans.
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