Have you ever wondered if your best friend is part of your extended family? Or if someone you met on vacation is your sixth cousin? In Britain, researcher Yan Wong of Oxford University has created the world’s largest family tree. The latter brings together about 27 million people around the world! It should help to better understand the evolution of the human race. Yan Wong has already based himself on the genomic data of more than 3,600 people from 215 different groups to create his family tree. These genomes date back 1,000 years for the newest and 100,000 years for the oldest.
“We have basically created a huge family tree, a genealogy of humanity that models as accurately as possible the history that generated all the genetic variations that exist in humans today. Genealogy allows us to see how each person’s genetic sequence relates to the other,” the researcher explains to the Daily Mail. “If humans are the focus of this study, this method is valid for all living things, from orangutans to bacteria,” he continues.
“We are reconstructing our ancestors’ genomes, and by using them to form a vast network of relationships, we can then estimate when and where those ancestors lived,” says Anthony Wilder Wons, another researcher. The latter now plans to continue incorporating new genetic data into its tree in an effort to better understand the history of human evolution, including migration from Africa.