A genetic map of Africa – the continent from which all modern humans originate – has provided information about its huge diversity of language and culture.
It is the result of the largest African genetic study ever undertaken. The work revealed the continent to be the most genetically diverse place on Earth, and identified descendents of our earliest human ancestors.
The international team of scientists describe their 10-year study in the journal Science. The team, led by Sarah Tishkoff from the University of Pennsylvania, studied genetic material from 121 African populations.
They collected over 3,000 samples, and identified 14 “ancestral population clusters”. These are groups of populations with common genetic ancestry, who share ethnicity and similarities in both their culture and the properties of their languages.