Are you a blue-eyes blonde? You might be surprised to find out that your great-great-great-grandmother was a corn-field worker from Africa or something similar. If you're interested in where your ancient ancestor came from, you have a unique chance to find out completely free of charge.
All you have to do is participate in a unique research and in a few months, you'll find out if your ancestor came from Eastern or Western Europe, Scandinavia, the Balkans or even the Middle East. The project Analysis of Czech Genomes for Teranostics, abbreviated to A-C-G-T, which also happen to be letters of the genetic alphabet, is underway in Prague.
The requirements are simple: you have to meet the basic conditions and undergo a one-time collection of venous blood in the Faculty Transfusion Department of the General University Hospital in Prague (VFN), or in other places across the Czech Republic.
The aim of the project is to compile a control database of genetic information typical of the Czech population. The database will be used in the diagnosis of various genetic diseases, and can thus contribute to the early and accurate diagnosis of genetic diseases and their further research.
"The criteria for participation in the project are practically the same as for blood donation. In addition to being healthy, the applicant must be aged between thirty and fifty-five. The father and mother of the participants must come from the same region or from places no more than 50 kilometers apart as the crow flies. Participants have to fill in a questionnaire about their age, origin, close relatives, health and lifestyle. At the transfusion department, they will then undergo a one-time collection of venous blood, a maximum of sixteen milliliters, which is a relatively small volume,"
explained Associate Professor Kateřina Jirsová from the Bank of Biological Materials of the 1st Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and the General Hospital in Prague, adding that the blood sample is then processed by experts, the DNA separated and the genetic information that is specific to each individual sequenced (a process that determines the primary structure of individual biopolymers).
As a reward for participating in the project, the result of the so-called genographic analysis will be provided to you. It is the basis for estimating ancient genetic origin, which means you'll be able to find out where your ancestor who lived tens of thousands of years ago came from. If you're male, they'll analyze your male chromosome Y, which is passed on in an almost unchanged form exclusively along the line of your father, his father, and can be traced back all the way to the ancient ancestor from dozens of generations ago. If you're female, your mitochondrial DNA will be analyzed, which in turn is passed on exclusively along the mother's line, back to the foremother of the whole line.
The whole project takes place in an anonymized form, the study participants will find out the results of the genographic analysis on the basis of an assigned code, no later than half a year after the collection of the sample.
Today, it's not a problem to track down your ancestors like this. However, determining paternity, DNA or pedigree costs thousands of crowns. If you participate in this research, you'll support a good cause and save a couple thousand as a bonus.