CanWest News Service
August 24, 2005
Who's your daddy?
More than 60,000 people so far have paid $99.95 US to find out in a National Geographic-sponsored project that allows them to use their own DNA to trace their ancient ancestry.
The do-it-yourself DNA sample kit allows members of the public to scrape a DNA sample from the inside of their cheeks and then send it to an American population genetics lab for analysis as part of the geographic society's Genographic Project launched in April.
Spencer Wells, director and lead scientist for the project, believes it's the first time the public has paid to take part in a scientific project.
"They're helping to fund the research. They're getting information about their own genetic history and they're finding out more about the science."
Wells expects that as many as 500,000 to one million people could purchase the DNA kits before the five-year project is finished.
Why are people so eager to scrape the inside of their mouths and send the tissue off?
Wells says people often hear about large science projects, but figure they don't apply to them.
"In this case, you are part of the research. In a way, you have an incentive to find out about it and it's much more exciting because you figure out how you're connected to people all over the world."
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