Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The Genographic Project
Image source: Wikipedia
I am in the US this week for business. Guess what I am carrying around in my backpack, in a small envelope ready to drop in the mail? Gioia's DNA samples. Yep. Kinda weird, huh?
I read about the Genographic Project a few months ago and ordered a kit right away. If you are not familiar with the project, this is an effort by the National Geographic Society and other researchers to track and catalogue the paths of our ancestors by examining our DNA. If you send in a sample, you receive an overview of the migration path of your ancestors - your specific haplogroup - over tens of thousands of years. Women can test only their matrilineal line, while men can test matrilineal or patrilineal lines (those crazy Y chromosomes). Participation in the project not only allows you to obtain personal information about your ancestors' path from Africa to wherever you landed on this green earth, but you also are contributing to the advancement of human knowledge about such things. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
My daughter was adopted from China. She does not know anything about her birthparents, her birthgrandparents. One day, that fact will be a hard one for her to bear. It is hard for me to bear some days, frankly. One of the things that drew me to this project was the opportunity to give her some connection to her ancestral past, to her genetic heritage.
So that is why I am sitting in the Dulles airport this afternoon with two little tubes of DNA. Weird, yes. But also very cool.