Scientists can now use DNA to pinpoint where your ancestors came from

You might know where your forebears lived a few generations prior, but how about the exact village they came from — 1,000 years ago? Thanks to DNA sequencing, it’s now possible to find that out in many cases according to researchers from the University of Sheffield in the UK. The aptly-named GPS or Geographic Population Structure tool was modeled using more than 100,000 DNA signatures called AIMs. 

An international team of scientists has developed a process that allows them to pinpoint a person’s geographical origin going back 1,000 years. Known as the Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool, the method is accurate enough to locate the village from which the subject’s ancestors came, and has significant implications for personalized medical treatment. The new tool was created by Dr. Eran Elhaik from the University of Sheffield and Dr. Tatiana Tararinova from the University of Southern California. Whereas previous methods have only been able to trace the origin of a person’s DNA to within some 700 km (435 miles), the new method can track worldwide populations back to the islands or villages they descend from, with a 98 percent success rate.

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