New GPS Tracks Genetics

A new GPS tracking method can track DNA to ancestors who lived as far back as a millennium ago.

The GPS method stands for Geographic Population Structure and is a play on words for the method that helps people track down their family history, explains the researchers. According to the study by Ehran Elhaik of Sheffield University and Tatiana Tatarinova of the University of Southern California, the GPS tool has traced ancestry with 98 percent accuracy.

When researchers used the GPS method on 200 Sardinian villagers, a quarter of participants were placed in their village of genetic origin while the rest were within 31 miles. Other ancestry tracking methods have been off by as much as 435 miles. The improved accuracy of the new GPS method is largely due to an assumption by the researchers leading the study that race doesn’t exist.

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