The Largest Human Family Tree

Published on 5 March 2022 at 10:27

Before the end of February, a news article came across my feed. The article's title stated that there is now a Human Family Tree with over 231 million lineages. The statement reminded me of a quote I had read some time ago in college by Pope John XXIII, "The family is the first essential cell of human society." In fact, it our cells that are the basis of human society according to all the years and time science has devoted to studying where we come from and how we connect.


With genetic DNA becoming more and more popular it most certainly is possible that when everyone's personal DNA code is added to databases, and combined with past DNA obtained through archaeological digs etc... a trail of bread crumbs is leading us back to the beginning. So how long would something like this take? 


Per the article research began in June 2000. It's now 2022. Sure, there were a great many obstacles to overcome in order to understand our shared genome, but somehow a clear picture began to form. 


"Now researchers from the Big Data Institute (BDI) at the University of Oxford in the UK have made a significant start, by merging a forest of more than 3,600 individual sequences from 215 populations into a single, enormous tree. The tree's branches comprise of a mind-blowing 231 million ancestral lineages. At its base is a spread of roots represented by eight ancient, highly detailed human genome sequences, with thousands of smaller snippets used to confirm their place deep in our past."


Like all trees, one must start at the root and work their way upward to branch out. This is exactly what this team of researchers has been doing and in their efforts also learning where our ancestors lived. It can be astounding to watch all of their research unfold on a map. In addition, this new way of looking at the human genome and our ancestry, establishes roots of civilizations proving migration patterns from Africa to Mesopotamia. 


"Adding millions more genomes will only make any further results more accurate, pinpointing exactly where a novel sequence fits in a genealogy that stretches around the world. This genealogy allows us to see how every person's genetic sequence relates to every other, along all the points of the genome," says BDI evolutionary geneticist, Yan Wong."


This means there is ample room for the tree to continue to grow and gives us all a reason to #BranchOut further with our own family trees. 


To watch the video click HERE, or read the full article featured on the Science Alert website


McRae, Mike. “We Now Have The Largest Ever Human 'Family Tree', With 231 Million Ancestral Lineages.” ScienceAlert., February 22, 2022.


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