Researchers Create The World’s Largest Family Tree


A team of researchers creates a huge family tree of 13 million people, spanning 11 generations. The family tree attempts to try and find answers to intriguing questions about the human population.

Scientists have revealed some significant facts about the European and North American ancestry belonged from 500 years ago. The scientists have managed to develop a database using interconnected online genealogy profile and when they put that data in the world’s massive family tree, they found it includes around 13 million people spanning around 11 generations.

As per the information, the newly generated dataset is larger than the population of Cuba and Belgium. The new study which has been published in journal Science has provided important information on migration approach in Europe and North America and also how people from different regions married to each other.

The study was conducted by Yaniv Erlich, lead author of the study and also a computer scientist at Columbia University. The team downloaded 86 million public profile from the website which is the world’s largest online genealogies. This website houses complete record of birth and death of every individual. They got around 85 percent data which belonged from North America and Europe.

After obtaining the data, the team then used mathematical graph theory to analyze and organize the information. They built interconnected family tree spanning 11 generations. The massive family tree covers marriages, births, and deaths.

The scientists tried to know that when people stopped marrying their cousins, where they traveled further for marriage in past and today and they tried to find out whether genes play an important role in longevity.

Erlich stated “Through the hard work of many genealogists curious about their family history, we crowdsourced an enormous family tree and boom, came up with something unique. We hope that this dataset can be useful to scientists researching a range of other topics.”

The study shows that during the year 1750 to 1850 majority of Americans were preferred someone to marry within six miles from their birthplace. That time it was very common that they can marry their fourth cousins. But, moving toward later years, during 1950 people preferred to travel farther places, around 60 miles for marriage.

That clearly shows the changing pattern in marriage choice and migration. The reason behind this was not the transpiration issue, but because of its less social acceptance.

To find out the relationship between genes and longevity, the team develop a model including around 3 million relatives born between 1600 and 1910. Then they compared the lifespan with their relatives and found that genes contribute to around 16 percentage of the longevity.

Peter Visscher, a quantitative geneticist at University of Queensland the reconstructed family three show that all humans are related to each other. However, the scientists have managed to discover some interesting facts and it is impressive.


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