Smart Takes

Genographic Projects: Early humans left Africa via Arabia

Genographic Projects: Early humans left Africa via Arabia

Posting in Science

According to IBM and National Geographic's models and algorithms, it appears that humans migrated out of Africa through Arabia.

Early humans took a different route out of Africa through Arabia in the south, according to data the Genographic Project.

The Genographic Project, which combined IBM researchers with National Geographic, deployed a new analytical method that reconstructs common genetic history via recombinant DNA, which is transmitted from one generation to the next. Recombinant DNA covers 99 percent of the human genome, but hasn't been used to map human migration.

According to IBM and National Geographic's models and algorithms, it appears that humans migrated out of Africa through Arabia. It is commonly thought that humans left through the north via Egypt.

The findings will be outlined at a conference at the National Geographic Society.

Among the key details:

  • The African population is the most diverse on Earth.
  • Eurasian groups were more similar to populations from southern India, than they were to those in Africa.
  • That fact indicates that early humans left Africa via the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in Arabia before heading north. As a result, south Asia was the first stop for human explorers.
  • The analysis of genetic data took roughly six years. IBM researchers from its computational biology center said the new theory needs to be fleshed out by other fields such as archaeology and anthropology.

According to IBM, the Genographic Project had 500,000 individuals participate with field research conducted by 11 regional centers. The database is the largest collection of human population genetic information ever assembled.

Share this

Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure