travel based on gene ancestory tests?

Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 02:48 PM
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travel based on gene ancestory tests?

I wonder how feasible it is to locate an ancestoral homeland that you might want to visit based on genetic tests like from Decodeme or 23andMe? Among other things, they check your male and female lines for slight mutations that have been mapped to geographic locations.

I had a slight false alarm due to not paying attention to the date of the gene flags. Of course I have the "viking" gene, but I already expected that based on family records, and had travelled to the relevant places. The gene test also pointed to some unexpected parts of Europe on the mitochondrial side, so I almost headed out to visit homelands of the poor brides my vikings apparently carried off.

The catch is found in the date of these genetic flags, and for the non-viking one I finally noticed it was 45000 years old, around when glaciers had everyone huddled to the south of Europe trying to stay warm. So I think the older gene flags don't shed much light on geography since it includes too much movement.

Has anyone found more recent flags like the viking one that is more useful? I guess I could research the couple dozen ones I don't have to see if they are recent to rule out an area, but maybe someone already has experiences in mapping genes to travel destinations?
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 03:09 PM
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I recall seeing a special on this testing on 20/20 or one of those other shows a while back. There was a big controversy about the meaningfulness of the results.

I don't remember the details, but it was something about the non uniqueness of the results they provide you. The science of identifying homelands using this technique is very weak. You may have just as strong a link to aboriginal Australians, Nigerian, or Viking, but the testing companies they worked with didn't reveal that there were many different possible matches.

I'll see if I can dig up a link to that program.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Have you read Saxons, Vikings and Celts by Bryan Sykes? If not, you should try it.

This testing is well-grounded scientifically, if you use a reliable firm.

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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 03:45 PM
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No, the fuzzy part is where they give you estimates of getting particular disease. The ancestory is well understood, and you can too by flipping thru books like "journey of man". Not precisely relatable to geography, but you can sometimes get independant confirmation since they figure out the male and female part out with independant genes.

A big problem is when your "adam" and "eve" root ancestors lived in totally different and nonrecent times like in my case. Well, you can see gross migration patterns and times at http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey/ . All along there were accumulations of minor genetic changes that can be found in you today by a mouth swab.

Well, I guess I can answer my question in a few hours studying all possible mitogroups or y-groups and their age in wikipedia.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 05:41 PM
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Oh, I don't want to dwell on this, but left it a bit like black magic. A few of your genes are never mixed by the parents, but cloned exactly the same from the mother or father. These change only once every many thousands of years.

The very first person who had that same gene as you is what I meant by adam or eve, and their descendants leave a breadcrumb trail as some of them settle down along the trail of migrations. All this can be pieced together with some deductions and guestimations - giving you an idea of where your ancestors were and went.

The problem being (I think) if your particular gene change happened to occur too far back in the mists of time, it loses geographic specificity because those old cave people have migrated all over in circles in the meantime. So I thought I could also deduce something from what RECENT gene types I DON'T have. And not waste time traveling there - grin.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2008, 09:08 AM
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I read about it in some travel magazine. A guy had ancestry from all over the world, and visited those places. Interesting article! But one must have real guts to travel to a remote African village, for example.
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