Category Archives: Ancestry

First genetic map of Ireland going back to ancient times revealed

The next time a Cork man tells you he’s from the People’s Republic, or a Kerryman declares that he is from the Kingdom and is, therefore, special, pay attention. They may, in fact, have a point.
The first genetic map of the people of all parts of Ireland carried out by a team of geneticists and genealogists shows there are subtle DNA differences between people across the island.

In Easter Island DNA, Evidence of Genetic Loneliness

A small green dot lost in the vastness of the southeastern Pacific Ocean, Easter Island has long enchanted archaeologists and the public. Hundreds of giant stone figures, or Moai, that decorate the volcanic island remain a source of fascination.
One of the greatest mysteries about Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, concerns the identity of its earliest inhabitants, the architects of the stoic statues. Did they have genetic ties to natives on the South American land mass thousands of miles away, or were their origins solely in the Pacific islands to the west?

New Clues to How Neanderthal Genes Affect Your Health

If your arthritis is bad today or you’re slathering on aloe for an early autumn sunburn, Neanderthals may be partly to blame.
Scientists announced today the second complete, high-quality sequencing of a Neanderthal genome, made using the 52,000-year-old bones of a female found in the Vindija cave in Croatia.
Together with the genomes from another Neanderthal woman and a host of modern humans, a suite of analyses is yielding new clues about how DNA from Neanderthals contributed to our genetic makeup and might still be affecting us today.

Ancient human DNA in sub-Saharan Africa lifts veil on prehistory

The first large-scale study of ancient human DNA from sub-Saharan Africa opens a long-awaited window into the identity of prehistoric populations in the region and how they moved around and replaced one another over the past 8,000 years.
The findings, published Sept. 21 in Cell by an international research team led by Harvard Medical School, answer several longstanding mysteries and uncover surprising details about sub-Saharan African ancestry—including genetic adaptations for a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and the first glimpses of population distribution before farmers and animal herders swept across the continent about 3,000 years ago.

Exhuming Salvador Dalí: Paternity Suit Leads to Artist’s Grave

In a surreal development almost worthy of one of his paintings, Salvador Dalí’s grave is scheduled to be opened tomorrow (July 20) in an effort to collect DNA samples that could settle a paternity claim against the artist’s estate.
Obtaining a viable DNA sample from Dalí’s 28-year-old remains will be a challenge, but not impossible, said Victoria Moore, the commercial DNA services manager for LGC, the United Kingdom’s leading life sciences testing and forensics company.

Salvador Dalí’s Body Ordered Exhumed In Paternity Suit

In a surreal turn, a judge in Madrid ordered that Salvador Dalí’s body — interred for nearly three decades — be exhumed after a 61-year-old Spanish woman claimed the renowned painter was her father.

Mystery Solved: Boy killed in Georgetown finally identified after 96 years

GEORGETOWN – After 96 years, a boy killed by a train in Georgetown is finally going home.
Todd Matthews, director of case management and communication for NamUs, a national centralized repository and resource for missing persons and unidentified decedent records, identified the boy as Frank A. Haynes of Bronston. Matthews identified the boy Thursday near his grave in Georgetown Cemetery.
Haynes died April 1, 1921, when he was struck in the head by a train in Georgetown. At the time, officials tried to identify him and buried him before he was positively identified. He was buried in Georgetown Cemetery with the tombstone that simply reads, “Some Mother’s Boy.” He was about 19.

Mummy DNA unravels ancient Egyptians’ ancestry

The tombs of ancient Egypt have yielded golden collars and ivory bracelets, but another treasure — human DNA — has proved elusive. Now, scientists have captured sweeping genomic information from Egyptian mummies. It reveals that mummies were closely related to ancient Middle Easterners, hinting that northern Africans might have different genetic roots from people south of the Sahara desert.

UGA To Analyze DNA Of Human Remains Found On Campus

The University of Georgia says its scientists will analyze the DNA of human remains found in 2015 near a campus building.
Two years ago, workers renovating Baldwin Hall discovered more than 100 gravesites. Preliminary DNA tests showed most of the bodies were those of African descent.
UGA researchers now say they plan to go deeper.

7.2-million-year-old pre-human fossils challenge modern human evolution theory

A jawbone discovered by German troops in Athens during the Second World War could be evidence that apes and humans diverged 200,000 years earlier than the current theory says.
Chimpanzees and bonobos are the nearest known relatives to humans, sharing 99 per cent of our DNA. It’s believed that we split between five and seven million years ago.

DNA breakthrough for unknown soldiers

The chances of identifying some of the 35,000 Australian soldiers who lie unknown in foreign fields are a step closer with a dramatic DNA breakthrough by Sydney scientists.
The Australian Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties unit and NSW Health Pathology’s Forensic Science Service have been working with more that 300 sets of remains thought to be Australian servicemen for the past few months.

Europe’s Famed Bog Bodies Are Starting to Reveal Their Secrets

If you’re looking for the middle of nowhere, the Bjaeldskovdal bog is a good place to start. It lies six miles outside the small town of Silkeborg in the middle of Denmark’s flat, sparse Jutland peninsula. The bog itself is little more than a spongy carpet of moss, with a few sad trees poking out. An ethereal stillness hangs over it. A child would put it more simply: This place is really spooky.

Cutting-edge Technology Solves Ancient Scientific Puzzles

ancient-gravesiteHere’s a riddle for you: What does an ancient tooth unearthed in Troy, a bald eagle feather, and a scrap of metal from a WWII fighter plane all have in common?

Your Neanderthal DNA might actually be doing you some good

neanderthals3Most human genomes harbor small fragments of Neanderthal DNA, the legacy of prehistoric hanky-panky between our ancestors and their hominid cousins.
For the most part, that inheritance has been detrimental. Research suggests that as much as 10 percent of the human genome was inherited from archaic hominids other than Homo sapiens, but the majority of that material was weeded out by tens of thousands of years of natural selection. The DNA that does remain has been blamed for increasing risk of depression, Type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, lupus, allergies, addiction and more.

A Skeleton Found in a Castle Could Be the Key to Cracking a 17th-Century Cold Case

george-iToday, any scandal by a member of the United Kingdom’s royal family will likely end up plastered on the front page of gossip magazines. But for centuries, intrigue among blue bloods carried much deadlier consequences. Now, as Alison Smale reports for The New York Times, a skeleton recently unearthed in a German castle could shed light on a 17th-century cold case linked to a then-future monarch.