The genetic algorithm accurately predicts the country of ancestral origin for about 80 percent of people, and for isolated island populations, it can predict people's island or even village of origin in some cases, researchers report today (April 29) in a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
A person's DNA contains more than simple instructions — it also tells the story of their evolution, migrations, interbreeding and mixing, said study leader Eran Elhaik, a population geneticist at the University of Sheffield in England.
The best efforts have been able to accurately trace ancestral place of origin within about 435 miles (700 kilometers) in Europe, but not very accurately in other countries.
Genetic GPS Elhaik and his team created an algorithm that uses genetics to home in on an individual's country of origin, called the Geographic Population Structure, with the fitting acronym GPS.
The method first reconstructs ancestral human gene pools around the world.
For centuries, scientists have sought a biological method for tracing a person's geographic origin.
Now, a group of researchers has developed such a genetic ancestry test that can pinpoint the location where a person's ancestors originated more than 1,000 years ago.
In the case of the larger firms the mark also has publicity value and shows the buyer that the object was made by a long-established firm with a reputation to uphold; such clear name- marks as Minton, Wedgwood, Royal Crown Derby and Royal Worcester are typical examples.
To the collector the mark has greater importance, for not only can he trace the manufacturer of any marked object, but he can also ascertain the approximate date of manufacture and in several cases the exact year of production, particularly in the case of 19th and 20th century wares from the leading firms which employed private dating systems.
[The Best Genealogy Software for Tracing Your Family Tree] "Only genetic tools can access this vast archive and extract the exact information about our geographic origin," Elhaik told Live Science.
Researchers have been attempting to use genetic data to trace human origins for decades.