What’s in Your Genes? Join a Twitter Chat with Geneticist Spencer Wells

A local resident from Asturias, Spain sits down with Genographic Project Director Spencer wells to swab with Geno 2.0. Photo by Francisco Viña.

When National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Robert Ballard, best known for his discovery of the R.M.S. Titanic, first participated in the Genographic Project, he expected to confirm what he already knew of his British-Dutch ancestry. But could his DNA tell him more about his ancient relatives?

Dr. Ballard decided to “swab” with National Geographic’s Genographic Project to see if there was more to his ancient ancestors than he originally thought. And indeed, there was more to learn. Dr. Ballard connected with his fellow Explorer and the Genographic Project Director Spencer Wells to discuss his results. Listen to their conversation and learn about how Dr. Ballard’s roots really do go back to the bottom of the Ocean.

Bob Ballard Infographic
Every Geno 2.0 participant receives a personalized infographic detailing their ancient ancestry, including Dr. Robert Ballard (pictured above). Courtesy of The Genographic Project.

Ask your genealogy questions and talk about The Genographic Project, DNA, and human migration this Friday, September 13 at 12pm ET. To join, follow Spencer at @spwells and make sure to tweet your questions with #NatGeoLive. And be sure to follow @Genographic

Now in its 7th year, the Genographic Project has over 600,000 participants. While traditional genealogy may help fill in some branches of your family tree, National Geographic’s Genographic Project uses advance DNA technology to help answer fundamental questions about where humans originated and how we came to populate the Earth. Everyone is invited to trace their own ancient ancestry by purchasing a Geno 2.0 test kit. After taking a simple cheek swab sample and sending your DNA sample to the Genographic Project laboratory for analysis, 6-8 weeks later you will receive your results, including a personalized map of the path your ancient ancestors took out of Africa and a percentage breakdown of your ancestry.

Meanwhile, learn more about The Genographic Project by visiting www.genographic.com and following @Genographic on Twitter.

Rachel Bruton is a member of National Geographic’s Explorer Programs team. She works with National Geographic’s explorers and several initiatives including the Genographic Project and the Big Cats Initiative. In this role, her focus is on social media, event implementation, marketing and outreach. Rachel is a Maryland native and received a B.B.A in Marketing from James Madison University.
  • Anita Goodwin

    I am very much interested in founding more about my genes. How do i get the gene kit ? How much is it ? and how long does it take to find out? I have always been interested in genealogy . I think its bring human being more together and knowing that you may have a common ancestors with famous people is also really cool 🙂 Kind regards Anita Goodwin

  • Marlene Case

    What if one does not “tweet” and has no idea how to do it? Is there any other way to participate in Spenser Wells discussion?

  • Marlene Case

    What if one does not “tweet” and has no idea how to do it? Is there any other way to participate in the Spenser Wells discussion?

  • Michelle

    @ teltaheart: Ida could hardly be called a human ancestor, as it is a primate with a tail that is speculated to be a “missing link” between primates and other mammals. Not between humans and primates! Not an early human.
    I think that there is a lot of speculation about where humans came from, but the current theory is Africa. More knowledge may very well change that theory.

  • sharon

    My husband and I signed up and received gene reports several years ago. What is the status today of the results; is any more information available?

  • Jim Hayden

    We do not Twit. We are members of the National Geo Soc.
    How do we get a kit, and how much does it cost.
    Do you have a “Family kit” for both husband and wife?

  • Joaquin Alberto Gaztambide Mendez

    I was born in Puerto Rico. I know for a fact that we are of a very diverse gene pool. However, I want to know more specifically what my mitochondrial DNA says about me and my family. I am sure that it has to be fascinating. My ancestry include Spaniards, Basques, French, Italians, Dutch, English, and Lord knows what else. Would you be interested in looking into that?

  • David DeForest

    For a male participant, does the DNA test, obtain information about the paternal, (male) ancestors associated with a participant’s mother and does it obtain maternal information regarding a participants father?

  • Dianne Foster

    The Robert Ballard results and comments were very interesting.
    His New York Dutch ancestry is probably something I share (at least as to national origins) although the source is through the female line and thus harder to track. My first New York ancestor that I know about arrived on Long Island in the 1630’s (from England by way of Boston), although every lineage around his is full of Dutch people too, some with anglicized names later on (cf. the painter Edward Hopper).

    But that this group might have brought in East Asian or Oceanian ancestry – wow. I’ve been in Amsterdam and enjoyed the custom there of the “Ristaffel” restaurants from the East Indies, and I have even known people who were Dutch and also East Indian. But I never imagined it might apply to myself! Yet the history of New York was about an original European group that was very diverse, pretty tolerant, and very well-traveled when it arrived. It definitely intrigues me to pursue this story – and to think the heritage is so recent as well – within the age of exploration.

  • DonBlackwell

    For a male participant, does the DNA test, obtain information about the paternal, (male) ancestors associated with a participant’s mother and does it obtain maternal information regarding a participants father?

  • Lastsister

    Okay I know what haplogroup I belong to T2b3 but that is through MtDNA because I am female and I have no brothers to test for the male side. Am I finished?

  • Joe Ann

    Got results for testing mid-year 2013. Female so I just got results based on maternal side. My brother just had his done so got results based on mat. & pat. sides. How do I use his results to refine mine? Percentages were slightly different for us. His included 2 percent native American which Inhave to assume came from our Father? Thanks.

  • Phedre

    Okay here’s a question now that we can go back in time. How does the bloodlines tie into Dr. Wells research? If all life originates from Africa, and O is the predominate blood type on this timeline. What mutations in the orginal timeline evolved the 7 other blood types. Where does there begin a boom of the other blood types based on region, and cultural diversity? And what might have sparked the need for those mutations in the first place?

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