National Genographic Project
Tammy Everts
Jul 17, 2008

Some baby books make a nod to posterity by setting aside a page for mapping the lineage of your new arrival. The National Genographic Project takes that idea and ups the ante a few notches. If you've ever been curious about what's been going on in your family tree for the past 10,000 or so years -- and then wanted this activity depicted in nifty graphics suitable for framing -- look no further. All you have to do is take a painless cheek swab, submit it to a lab, and trust that they won't use your DNA to create a secret mutant clone army.

According to the project website:

Your results will reveal your deep ancestry along a single line of direct descent (paternal or maternal) and show the migration paths they followed thousands of years ago. Your results will also place you on a particular branch of the human family tree. Some anthropological stories are more detailed than others, depending upon the lineage you belong to. For example, if you are of African descent, your results will show the initial movements of your ancestors on the African continent, but will not reflect most of the migrations that have occurred within the past 10,000 years. Your individual results may confirm your expectations of what you believe your deep ancestry to be, or you may be surprised to learn a new story about your genetic background.

You'll also be participating in a genuine research effort. All the genetic information gathered from participants will be used to map genetic migration patterns amongst the entire human population.

We have to admit we're intrigued, and the graphics do look pretty cool -- something our children might find really interesting when they're older, perhaps even cherish as an heirloom? We just need to get past our hangup about mutant clones.

Each participation kit is $99.95 at the National Geographic Society.

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