New York, May 1 :
In a groundbreaking research, scientists have developed a tool that can trace back the place where your DNA was formed up to 1,000 years ago.
The revolutionary Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool works similarly to a satellite navigation system.
“What we have discovered here at the University of Sheffield is a way to find not where you were born – as you have that information on your passport – but where your DNA was formed up to 1,000 years ago by modelling these admixture processes,” said Eran Elhaik of University of Sheffield.
Genetic admixture occurs when individuals from two or more previously separated populations begin interbreeding.
This results in the creation of new gene pools representing a mixture of the founder gene pool.
“What is remarkable is that, we can do this so accurately that we can locate the village where your ancestors lived hundreds and hundreds of years ago – until now this has never been possible,” Elhaik added.
To demonstrate how accurate GPS predictions are, the researchers analysed data from 10 villages in Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and an autonomous region in Italy, and over 20 islands in Oceania.
The researchers were able to place a quarter of the residents in Sardinia directly to their home village and most of the remaining residents within 50 km of their village.
The results for Oceania were no less impressive with almost 90 percent success of tracing islanders exactly to their island.
“This is a significant improvement compared to the alternative SPA (Spatial Ancestry analysis tool) that placed Oceanians in India,” Elhaik noted.
The study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.