Thanks to the Barbados Museum & Historical Society, 100 individuals will be randomly selected to receive a free Genographic Public Participation Kit to trace their deep ancestry.
Since the launch of the Genographic Project, more than 300,000 people around the world have submitted their DNA to the non-profit initiative to learn about their ancient ancestors. Net proceeds from the sale of the Genographic Public Participation Kit support field research and the Genographic Legacy Fund, giving back to indigenous and traditional peoples around the world.
With a simple and painless cheek swab, participants send in their DNA and then track its progress online with an anonymous access code found in the kit and can view their own interactive, personalised and confidential history. Dr. Spencer Wells said, “Among other things, we hope that the findings from the project will underscore how closely related we are to one another as part of the extended human family.”
Application boxes for Barbados-born individuals who are interested in the random draw are currently available up to April 30 at the Museum, post offices, public libraries and Super Centre supermarkets around the island.
On April 3, through a public lecture hosted by the Museum, Barbadians got an opportunity to discover how Dr. Spencer Wells, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, and the Genographic scientific team use genetics and anthropology to answer the question “Who we are and where do we come from?” Attendees learned how scientists used DNA to put the leaves on the branches of the human family tree.
Dr. Wells, a leading population geneticist, author, and filmmaker, directs National Geographic and IBM’s global Genographic Project, one of the most ambitious anthropological research initiatives ever undertaken, to understand how we as a species populated the planet from our first steps out of Africa. Dr. Wells took the audience on a tour that spanned the globe, tracing the migrations of our ancient ancestors using genetic signposts carried in the DNA of people living today.
DNA studies suggest that all humans today descended from a group of African ancestors who – about 60,000 years ago – began a remarkable journey. To formulate the genetic markers that expand the basis for the migratory analysis, Dr. Wells and a team of Genographic scientists from 11 global research centers are collaborating with indigenous and traditional groups to analyse DNA samples. They are also inviting members of the public to take part to find out their ancient migratory journeys by purchasing a public participation kit and the proceeds donated to a Legacy Fund for Indigenous Peoples.
On April 4, Dr. Wells also presented the Genographic Project during a standing-room only seminar for students in the University of the West Indies’ Biology and Chemical Sciences Department. Dr. Wells’ visit to the university expands the Genographic educator outreach that has opened access to teachers around the world. The Genographic Project curriculum allows students to explore history, understand migration, learn the basics of DNA and celebrate our shared deep ancestry.
The Barbados DNA Project is made possible through the Peter Moores (Barbados) Trust and the US Embassy. For more information, please contact the Barbados Museum at 427-0201 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information on the Genographic Project may be obtained by visiting www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic.