Living DNA seeks volunteers to map Germany’s genetic history

By Rosemary Collins, 24 April 2017 - 11:11am

The DNA testing company, along with German genealogists, is seeking individuals with four locally born grandparents


Living DNA is looking to produce a genetic map of Germany and its surrounding regions (Credit: Living DNA)

Living DNA has announced a new initiative to map Germany’s genetic history, ahead of National DNA Day.

The British-based DNA testing company is issuing a large-scale appeal for people with four locally born grandparents from Germany and its surrounding regions to have their DNA tested, in partnership with Verein für Computergenealogie e.V. (CompGen), Germany’s largest genealogical society.

Individuals with four grandparents born within 50 miles (80 kilometres) of each other are invited to take part in One Family - The German People (‘Eine Familie - Die Deutschen’). By focusing on people whose grandparents were born close together, researchers hope to build up the most detailed and accurate regional map of Germany’s genetic history.

The team aims to map the genetic structure of both contemporary Germany and the eastern regions of Silesia, Posen, Pomerania and East and West Prussia, which were part of Germany before joining Russia and Poland after the Second World War. One of the biggest challenges will be identifying people across all these regions.

David Nicholson, managing director of Living DNA, said the One Family initiative sought to “map and connect the world’s DNA” and produce “one family tree of the world”.

To encourage suitable people to come forward, Living DNA is offering individuals who fit the criteria a discounted DNA test at only €89 and return postage, as compared to €159 normally, and lifetime membership to Living DNA, allowing them to receive updates to their ancestry results as the database grows. Qualifying people whose DNA has already been tested can transfer their results to the project for free and will also receive lifetime membership.

Dr. Tobias Kemper, a genetic genealogist at CompGen, said: “We are thrilled to be working on this project which will show how the history of middle Europe – from the Roman Empire through the middle ages and the early modern period until now - has left traces within German DNA and their regional distribution.”

He added that the project was “of the utmost importance” because it would mean that DNA genealogy would be available in Germany on a large scale for the first time.

In 2015, the People of the British Isles project produced the first detailed genetic map of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

To take part in the project, click here.

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