Discovering Your Ancestry All the Way to the Cretaceous Period

#History

Sat, Apr 21st, 2012 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

BBC's Carol Zall decided that the only way to truly discover who her ancestors were was to do it through genetic testing. For about $200, a company called 23andMe will examine your DNA and compare the results in their database system in order to see which segments are shared with other people.

Two hundred dollars and a vial of spit later, the big headline is something I already knew -- that my ancestors were mostly Jews from different parts of Eastern Europe, though there was some interesting finer detail.

My "mitochondrial DNA" (the special piece of DNA that's handed down from mother to child) traces back to a common female ancestor somewhere on the Iberian peninsular -- today's Spain or Portugal -- about 15,000 years ago.

Another exciting thing I've learned goes all the way back to the Stone Age. The test I used has added a feature that lets you see what percentage -- if any -- of your DNA comes from Neanderthals, and 2.7% of mine is Neanderthal.

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