Washington, May 23 : Scientists have developed a statistical technique that analyzes shared parts of chromosomes across the entire human genome, which might shed new light on the history of human migration.
Developed by scientists from the University of Oxford and University College Cork in the UK, this statistical method can give much finer detail than other methods and makes it possible to delve further back in time and identify smaller genetic contributions.
Previous methods of genome analysis have either concentrated on one part of the human genome - for example, just the Y-chromosome, or are based on "beanbag genetics" - an oversimplified model of heredity that does not fully consider chromosomal structure.
The new technique was used to analyze 2000 genetic markers using Single Nucleotide Polymorphism data from the 2006 Human Diversity Project.
The researchers believe their method can cope with much larger datasets with over 500,000 genetic markers.
Application of the method has already turned up such surprising findings as a strong Mongolian contribution to the genes of the Native American Pima people and gene flow from the north of Europe to Eastern Siberia.
Further developments of the technique should allow more finely detailed reconstruction of human ancestry and give a perspective independent of anthropological theory and interpretation.