26 February 2008

Florida: Spencer Wells, February 27

Sorry for the late notice, but if deep ancestry DNA is your thing and you live near Palm Beach, here's a chance to hear population geneticist Dr. Spencer Wells of the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project at 2.30pm Wednesday, February 27.

He'll be speaking at The Society of the Four Arts. The event is free and offers a book signing.

While most genealogists are able to track several generations of our families, deep ancestry goes back thousands and thousands of years to where everything really begins and provides information on human migration routes using DNA. Everyone in the world can be traced back to Africa sometime in the past 60,000 years, says Wells.

The Project wants to collect 100,000 samples from indigenous people and as many as possible from the public. To date, there have been 275,000 samples from the public and 31,000 from indigenous peoples. Proceeds from the public participation kits go into the Legacy Fund, supporting cultural and educational initiatives with indigenous people.

The scientist, author and documentary filmmaker has dedicated his career to studying humankind’s family tree and closing the gaps in our knowledge of migration.

The story of the human journey is encoded in our DNA. In 2005, National Geographic and IBM launched the project, and now has more than a quarter of a million participants. Family Tree DNA does the testing for the project.

Wells graduated Phi Beta Kappa (University of Texas, Austin) at 19, earned his PhD at Harvard with post-doctoral training at Stanford. He is the writer and presenter of the award-winning documentary, Journey of Man. Since the project began in 2005, his work with the Project’s 10 global research centers has taken him to three dozen countries including Chad, Tajikistan, Morocco and French Polynesia.

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