DNA tool lets you trace your ancestral ancestry


University of Sheffield

Scientists at the University of Sheffield, studying ancient DNA, have created a tool for more accurately identifying ancient Eurasian populations, which can be used to test the similarity of an individual to ancient people roaming the Earth.

Nowadays, the study of ancient DNA requires a lot of information to classify a skeleton into a population or to find its biogeographical origins.

Scientists have now defined a new concept called Ancient Ancestor Information Markers (aAIMs) – a group of mutations that are informative enough to identify and classify ancient populations.

The research, led by Dr. Eran Elhaik of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, has identified a small group of AIMs that can be used to classify skeletons to ancient populations.

Dr. Elhaik said:

"We have developed a new method that finds an AIMs efficiently and has proven that it is accurate."

Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) have a long history in science and have been employed in the last decade by health and forensic experts.

But Dr. Elhaik said that when his team applied traditional AIM search engines to old DNA data, they were disappointed by its low accuracy.

"Ancient populations are much more diverse than modern ones," he said. "Its diversity has been reduced over the years after events such as the Neolithic revolution and the Black Death.

"Although we have a lot more people today, they are much more similar to each other than older people. In addition, the old data itself is problematic because of the large amount of degraded DNA."

To overcome these challenges, Dr. Elhaik has developed a specialized tool that identifies AIMs combining traditional methodology with a new one that takes into account a blend.

Genomes consist of hundreds of thousands of markers. (Image: Eisenhans / Adobe Stock)

Genomes consist of hundreds of thousands of markers. (Image: Eisenhans / Adobe Stock)

"Ancient genomes usually consist of hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of markers. We have shown that only 13,000 markers are needed to make accurate population rankings for ancient genomes, and although the field of ancient forensic science does not yet exist, these AIMs can help us to get closer to old people. "

He added, "So far, you could not test people about the ancestry of DNA because commercial microarrays like those used for genetic genealogy do not have many markers relevant to paleogenomics – people could not study their primitive origins. "

"This finding of AIMs is like finding the fingerprints of old people, it allows you to test a small number of markers – which can be found in a commonly available array – and you may ask what part of your genome is Roman or Viking Breton, or Chumash Indians, or ancient Israelites, etc.

We can ask any questions we want about these old people, as long as someone sequences those old bookmarks. Therefore, this article brings the field of paleogenomics to the public. "

The researchers said that in order to make the study findings more accurate to identify and classify ancient people around the world, the structure and methods of the study should be reapplied when there are more comprehensive, ancient DNA databases available.

Top image: DNA molecule test Source: natali_mis / Adobe Stock

The article & # 39; DNA tool lets you trace your ancestral ancestry It was originally published in the Science Daily.

Source: University of Sheffield. "DNA tool lets you trace your old ancestry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, January 14, 2019. < www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190114082850.htm>.


Umberto Esposito, Ranajit Das, Syed Syakir, Mehdi Pirooznia, Eran Elhaik. Information markers of ancient ancestry to identify ancient structures of fine-scale populations in Eurasians . Genes2018; 9 (12): 625 DOI: 10.3390 / genes9120625


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