A new paper from Eran Elhaik and colleagues is published in Nature Communications. It claims to have developed a population genetics algorithm that has the accuracy of mapping a person to his ancestral village !!
The search for a method that utilizes biological information to predict humans place of origin has occupied scientists for millennia. Over the past four decades, scientists have employed genetic data in an effort to achieve this goal but with limited success. While biogeographical algorithms using next-generation sequencing data have achieved an accuracy of 700 km in Europe, they were inaccurate elsewhere. Here we describe the Geographic Population Structure (GPS) algorithm and demonstrate its accuracy with three data sets using 40,000130,000 SNPs. GPS placed 83% of worldwide individuals in their country of origin. Applied to over 200 Sardinians villagers, GPS placed a quarter of them in their villages and most of the rest within 50 km of their villages. GPSs accuracy and power to infer the biogeography of worldwide individuals down to their country or, in some cases, village, of origin, underscores the promise of admixture-based methods for biogeography and has rami?cations for genetic ancestry testing.
When he shared a preprint with us a year back (yes, that is how long it takes to get a paper published), we were skeptical about the claims, as one should be with any major claim these days. Therefore, it is great that his colleague built a website, where anyone can upload his DNA data and get a free report about their own genetic history.
The program is available open-source here. For quick introduction, enjoy this video prepared by Elhaik.