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Human Migration


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Genetic and Linguistic Data
Hadza and Datog People in a Village near Lake Eyasi

Hadza and Datog People in a Village near Lake Eyasi

Image Courtesy Sarah Tishkoff

The results of ten years of nuclear DNA research on Africans, collected by University of Maryland professor Sarah Tishkoff and colleagues, and intended to learn about the origins and migration patterns of all of us, was presented in an article in Science on May 1, 2009.

The study involved retrieving nuclear DNA from blood samples taken from over 3,000 Africans from 113 ethnic populations throughout the continent of Africa. Scholars from 11 different countries (U.S., Italy, Germany, France, Cameroon, Mali, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria) took part in this research, which brought centrifuges and other laboratory equipment to the far-flung tribes in Africa, and involved what must have been a hugely complex web of obtaining permits. The study was explained in detail to all participants, as illustrated in this photograph from the project.

The DNA was compiled and then integrated with data from the Human Genome Diversity Panel, leading the researchers to several interesting findings, that speak to the origins of humans and the migration patterns that are in evidence.

Tishkoff and colleagues have built a database that will be made available to other researchers. They also performed some preliminary analysis of their own. The next few pages will discuss some of the results already realized by the study.

Sources and Further Information

Tishkoff, Sarah A., et al. 2009 The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans. Science Express. 30 April 2009

Human Migration from Africa: Four Theories

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