Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gathering Genes - National Geographic comes to Mayo

Also from the Mayo News!  This project of the National Geographic Society is in concert with Spirit of Place Inishturk...

Gathering Genes - National Geographic comes to Mayo

Áine Ryan

A NATIONAL Geographic study into the history of human migration will focus on the people of County Mayo next weekend as part of its cross-global research project into the origins of indigenous peoples. 

Significantly, Mayo’s citizens are the first in Ireland, and, indeed, in northern Europe, to be chosen to participate in this major international genographic study, to be held at the Museum Of Country Life, Castlebar, next Sunday (June 23). It will be hosted with the support of Mayo County Council’s Enterprise and Investment Unit.  

The National Geographic Genographic Project has already taken DNA swabs from such well-known Mayo people as Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for State, Michael Ring, former Mayo Rose, Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin and the chief of the Irish Navy, Commodore Mark Mellett. 

Their  results will be revealed at next Sunday’s event, which will also take cheek swabs from 100 volunteers, thus affording them  the opportunity to trace their roots back over 2000 generations. 

Mayo provides a perfect laboratory for such a study since it  is a county where emigration and seasonal migration has etched deep furrows on the demographic and cultural landscape both at home and in many areas of the UK and the United States.   

National Geographic’s Genographic Project, which is a multi-year global research initiative that uses DNA to map the history of human migration, is working with citizens around the globe to help answer fundamental questions about where we originated and how we came to populate the earth. The study has involved more than 600,000 people in 130 countries to date.

Next Sunday’s event will be the first of its kind in Ireland and will contribute to the researchers’ gaining a genetic snapshot of the Irish population.

“This provides a great citizen science opportunity and the more people who participate, the more our scientific knowledge will grow,” said Dr Spencer Wells, the Project Director.

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