Friday, February 7, 2014

Dr. Spencer Wells Talks DNA and Genetics - Friday Keynote #2

On Friday, the second Keynote speaker was Dr. Spencer Wells.  He started out with a genealogy puzzle - his name, which was Rush Spencer Wells IV.  His grandmother told him about the Rush male who was his 2nd great-grandfather, a 2nd great-grandmother with the maiden name of Spencer, and four Rush Spencer Wells children followed.  Here is a photo of Spencer Wells on stage:

Dr. Wells then took us on a whirlwind tour of The Human Journey through the eyes of a geneticist.  The two basic questions are about origins and journey - how did the species occupy the earth.  He went through basic DNA genetics, then into mtDNA and Y-DNA, and then showed the two sets of haplogroups that have been determined over the past two decades. 

He also discussed the Genographic Project, which consists of field research, public participation (DNA tests), and the Legacy Fund (85 grants to date for over $2 million).

He finished up by noting that DNA testing is now in the public consciousness, and tests have increased in 8 years from zero to 1 million by the end of 2012, and we will soon have the 2 millionth test performed.  The more people who test, the better the chances are of finding matches with other testers.

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