Living DNA launches One Family One World project

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30 October 2017
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Living DNA has announced the launch of One Family One World, a five-year project which aims to create a single worldwide family tree based on people's DNA.

Living DNA has announced the launch of One Family One World, a five-year project which aims to create a single worldwide family tree based on people's DNA.

The One Family One World project will analyse people’s DNA results from around the world to enable them to see where they fit in the One World Family Tree, and show how everyone is related if you go back far enough in time.

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Using 'proprietary technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning', the project will see tens of thousands of computers working together to identify distinctive and shared patterns in people’s DNA. Over time, this will allow Living DNA to produce the most detailed genetic map of the world, enabling people to explore both their modern ancestry and ancient migration patterns.

Living DNA is collaborating with genealogists and scientists around the world on this projects, including representatives from the University of York, Trinity College Dublin, Vanderbilt University, The University of Texas, University of Utah, University of Copenhagen, University of Iceland and the University of Sydney.

Ultimately, participants can match with and choose to connect with anyone else in the project to see how they are connected on the One World Family Tree.

How to join the One Family One World project

Anyone can join the project and help build the tree by visiting the website.  People who have already done a DNA test with another company can upload their results and take part for free.  Others can join by taking their own Living DNA test.  All existing Living DNA members will have the opportunity to join the project for free.

In addition, any new DNA testers that have four grandparents born within 50 miles of one another will receive a special discount because their results will help Living DNA create in-country regional mapping. No data from anyone joining the project will be sold for any other purpose.

David Nicholson, founder and managing director at Living DNA, said: 'When we think about family, most of us just think about our close relatives.  But despite how different we might seem on the surface, within our DNA lies the fact that we are all connected to one another. This project will bring to life how everyone is unique yet we are also part of one global family.'

DNA technology

The technology being used to test hundreds of millions of genetic combinations worldwide in this project is based on academic research from US institutions and also builds on the same proprietary technology used in the landmark ‘Peopling of the British Isles’ study of 2015. This allowed scientists to explore regional differences of DNA within a country for the first time, by analysing combinations of DNA from people with four grandparents born within 50 miles of each other. 

With an exclusive license of this technology, Living DNA is now applying an updated version of the same approach to countries around the world to produce the first fine-scale genetic map of the world – and in the process building up the One World Family Tree.