Find Yourself: Tracing Human Origins Using DNA
Monday, April 5 - Friday, April 16, 2021 EDT
The New York Academy of Sciences
Have you ever wondered how an at-home ancestry test works? You may be one, or know one, of the over 26 million people who have taken this test. You order a kit online, spit in a tube, send the tube with your cheek cells to a genetic ancestry testing company, and wait for your results: what will you find (or not)? In this workshop, you will learn what genetic ancestry is and how to determine an individual's ancestral origins using two types of genetic tests: autosomal and mitochondrial DNA tests. The autosomal DNA test uses over 600,000 sites from the 22 pairs of chromosomes that we inherit from both parents to give an overall picture of an individual. The mitochondrial DNA test uses the mitochondrial DNA that is only inherited from our mothers to identify an individual's ancient maternal lineage.
In this workshop, we will download publicly available genetic data from 52 worldwide populations from the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP), classify the autosomal and mitochondrial DNA ancestry of >1,000 individuals using UNIX-based software programs (ADMIXTURE and HaploGrep2), and perform basic statistics and visualize the genetic ancestry data using R. We will also discuss the importance of genetic ancestry in understanding our ancient origins and in health and disease. We will also discuss how to collect and preserve DNA, how to sequence DNA, how to study and analyze sequence data, and how to read a scientific paper. You will learn basic principles in biology, genetics, programming, and statistics. After this workshop, you can use these quantitative skills in any field or topic to analyze and visualize your own datasets.
$495/student for this two-week camp
Week 1: April 5-9
Week 2: April 12-16
Online via Zoom. Two hours of in-person teaching time with intermittent group breakout sections Monday through Friday. Students will be assigned work outside of class to be completed independently and in small groups.
Daily Monday through Friday, 4:00-6:00PM EST
Dr. Kevin Magnaye is a human geneticist who has made contributions in disease and population genetics. He received undergraduate degrees in Biology and Anthropology at the University of Washington (UW) Seattle and a PhD in Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. He served as a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellow and received a Graduate Global Impact Scholarship to lead a research study on the genetics of infection at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. He is passionate about basic and translational science as well as outreach and mentorship. He has served as a coordinator for the UW Genomics for Minorities Project and as an instructor for high school and undergraduate students in Phoenix, Arizona and in Oaxaca, Mexico as part of the Clubes de Ciencia initiative.
- Learn principles in genetics, programming, and statistics used to explore our origins.
- Learn the importance of genetic ancestry in direct-to-consumer genetic testing, in understanding human origins and migrations, and in health and disease.
- Students will learn how to access and analyze genetic data from the Human Genome Diversity Project.
- Students will master basic principles in genetics, programming, and statistics used to explore our origins.
- Students will understand the importance of genetic ancestry in direct-to-consumer genetic testing, in understanding ancient human origins and migrations, and in health and disease.
- Students will analyze autosomal and mitochondrial genetic data from Human Genome Diversity Project individuals using PLINK, ADMIXTURE, and HaploGrep2 and generate summary statistics and plots using R.
No. You will learn all that you need to know in the workshop.
No. I will mention some of the most popular companies as real world examples and discuss the general process of direct-to-consumer tests.
No. The cost of testing is not included in this camp. Direct-to-consumer testing is not required to fully engage in this topic.
Genetic ancestry refers to a person's origin or descent based on variations in their DNA. Genetic ancestry is based on the type of genetic ancestry test and the reference populations used to infer ancestry. Genetic ancestry usually reflects the continental origins of your ancestors.
Not only can genetic ancestry tell you about your origins and the history of human migrations, but genetic ancestry is important for health and disease. For example, certain populations are more susceptible to particular diseases and knowing an individual's genetic ancestry can be helpful for diagnosing and treating these diseases. In genetic research, genetic ancestry is important for studies known as genome-wide association studies that identify variations in DNA that might contribute to risk of disease.
Autosomal DNA includes your 22 pairs of non-sex chromosomes that comes from both your mother and your father. Genetic ancestry based on autosomal DNA is defined by percentages of broad continental regions such as European, African, East Asian, Oceanian, and Native American ancestry. For example, an individual can be classified as 20% European, 20% Oceanian, and 60% African. Genetic ancestry can also be defined by country or ethnic population, but this requires the availability of diverse reference populations. Mitochondrial DNA is a small circular chromosome found inside mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondrial DNA is passed almost exclusively from the mother to her children. Genetic ancestry based on mitochondrial DNA is defined by mitochondrial haplogroups, which are indicated by alphabetical letters and reflect an individual's maternal lineage tracing back to the root of humankind in modern-day sub-Saharan Africa.
Online sessions will meet weekdays, Monday to Friday from 4:00-6:00pm EST. Additionally, students can expect to spend between 5-10 hours outside of class on activities and projects.
Our STEM Camps are for high school students (grades 9-12) only.
The ideal student is self-motivated and eager to deepen their understanding of STEM-related subjects.
There are no prerequisites other than an interest in STEM-related subjects.
Select the camp that you are interested in and scroll down to register.
Payment is due immediately upon registration. The deadline to register is Wednesday, March 31.
The two-week camp costs $495/student.
Unfortunately, discounts and scholarships are not available at this time. We hope that this is something we can offer need-based students in the future.
All registrations and payments are final and nonrefundable. Families are not able to reschedule or transfer into a different camp, once registered, so please consider course choices carefully. The Academy has the right to cancel the camp for any reason. If for any reason the Academy, cancels or postpones camp, registered participants will have the option to receive a refund or credit.
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Students will earn a certificate from the Academy for successfully completing a STEM Camp.
The courses will be delivered via Zoom. A laptop or computer (Macs & PC’s both ok) with access to the Internet is required. In some cases, access to mobile devices will also be required. Additional software requirements vary by camp - please see individual STEM Camp details for more information.
If you are experiencing issues for any reason, you can contact email@example.com.
You can share feedback directly with the instructor or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Families will also be invited to complete a survey at the conclusion of the program, to provide additional feedback.
Images and Documents
Ancestry Paper: A scientific paper that I contributed to as an undergraduate student at the University of Washington where I conducted studies that motivated this workshop. We will be using the same populations and performing similar analyses as those described in this research paper.