London: You may not need to pore over those ancient albums and family trees to find out who your ancestors were, for a new DNA test that reveals a "historical archive" of where you come from is up for sale.
University of Edinburgh researchers found it was possible to detect whether a person`s parents or ancestors were related in any way - for example whether they came from a community where marriage between cousins was commonplace.
The find could help those communities where low genetic diversity could increase the risk of genetic illnesses, such as cystic fibrosis.
Inheriting the same genetic material from both parents is called homozygosity and is an indication that their parents have a common ancestor.
Results conducted amongst 1,000 people across 51 ethnic groups revealed that native South Americans had the highest proportion of this shared DNA and African communities had the lowest degree of genetic similarity.
“It`s like an archive being written in genetic code, so that we can understand the way our populations have developed from the distant past,” a newspaper quoted Dr Jim Wilson as saying.
"The findings are also important because it highlights those areas of the world where genetic similarity is common - and this can be a risk factor for some diseases like cystic fibrosis, which can be caused when you inherit a faulty gene from both parents,” he added.
Wilson said the test would be interesting to people researching their ancestors and trying to find out more about their background.
"They can find out whether they came from rather large, diverse, cosmopolitan populations or whether they came from smaller, more isolated populations, or if indeed there had been cousin marriage," he said.
The study is published in the journal PLoS One.