Molecular Genealogy Research Project

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The Molecular Genealogy Research Project (MGRP) was conceived to create a database that would integrate genealogical and genetic data. In the summer of 1999, Mr. James L. Sorenson contacted Brigham Young University (BYU) professor Dr. Scott R. Woodward to discuss the possibility of using genetics to further genealogical work. Mr. Sorenson envisioned promoting peace, compassion, and brotherhood among mankind by developing a genetic map of the peoples of the world that shows how we are all related, and how closely. Through this effort, he wished to demonstrate the close family relationships shared by the entire human family.

Dr. Woodward suggested that the best way to turn this vision into reality was to create a large and comprehensive database containing correlated genealogical and genetic information of individuals representing each world population. The building of this database came to be known as the Molecular Genealogy Research Project.

The first blood samples and pedigree charts were collected from among the BYU student body starting on March 6, 2000. Through simple advertising, the response of the students to Dr. Woodward's project was positive and encouraging. By June of 2000, over 2000 BYU students had donated a pedigree chart and a blood sample to the MGRP.

As the MGRP continued to grow, it became expedient to establish an official center to run the work of the MGRP. Consequently, the BYU Center for Molecular Genealogy was established, and its operations were maintained in the project's original location in the Eyring Science Center laboratory at Brigham Young University. The BYU Center was responsible for analyzing and storing the genetic and genealogical information, and creating the database from the information that had been collected. Around the time the BYU Center for Molecular Genealogy was established, the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) was also created in Salt Lake City, Utah to support the work done at BYU. The SMGF's primary responsibilities were to collect the necessary DNA samples and pedigree charts, provide funding for the study, and answer inquiries about the project.

Due to the many complications and limitations associated with the collection of DNA using blood samples, during July 2002, Ugo A. Perego spent considerable time evaluating alternative methods for the collection of the genetic data. A simple mouthwash rinse seemed to be an acceptable alternative. After a successful trial using this new method to collect samples in Uruguay and Brazil during August 2002, the SMGF officially adopted this new method for all of its collections.

Since then, this new collection method has been named GenetiRinse. One of the greatest advantages of the GenetiRinse is that it can be easily mailed to willing participants living in remote areas. The new GenetiRinse can be requested through this site.

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