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Miguel Vilar

www.genographic.com

Dr. Miguel Vilar is the Science Manager for National Geographic's Genographic Project. Miguel is also a molecular anthropologist and a science writer. His fieldwork has taken him to remote places throughout the South Pacific, East Africa, Mesoamerica, and the Caribbean. In the laboratory he researches the modern genetic diversity of human populations from Melanesia, Micronesia, North and Central America, and the Caribbean. Miguel has published in several anthropology and genetics journals, as well as popular science magazines.

Chickens and Dogs and Bears, Oh My (DNA)

Why did the chicken cross the road? We may never know. But since it did, and it carried its DNA, we can now say something about both chicken and human migration. Yes, using DNA to trace migration and history is not limited to just humans. A new paper on polar and brown bear DNA suggests…

Tracing New Zealanders’ Genetic History

The Genographic Project team continues their expedition to New Zealand, tracing the journeys of some of the island’s most ancient and most recent populations.

A Ngāi Tāmanuhiri Greeting From Muriwai, New Zealand

Greetings are different all over the world. We shake hands and say “nice to meet you” or sometimes just a wave across the room is sufficient. The Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, a New Zealand iwi or Maori community located across the bay from Gisborne, perform a spiritual greeting called a powhiri that includes singing, dancing and a…

The Genographic Team Goes to New Zealand

Kia ora, or Hello from Gisborne, a small city on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Just west of the International date line, Gisborne claimed for years to be the first city in the world to see each new day’s sunrise, but for political reasons the title is now held by…

The Fine Tapestry of the Kaqchikel Women of Guatemala

See the artistry of Kaqchikel women’s weaving in Guatemala, and hear how maintaining this craft is helping keep culture and inspiration alive.

Ancient DNA from Montana Skeleton Holds Clues to Native American Ancestry

DNA from the skeleton of an ancient boy from Montana may just hold clues revealing who the first Native Americans were and where they came from. A recent paper in the journal Nature details the results from the 12,500-year-old infant boy’s genome. The boy, nicknamed Anzick-1 in reference to the owner of the land where…

Testing the Genetic Diversity of College Students in New York City

Two-hundred university students trudged through the snowy New York City streets to swab their cheeks and trace their ancient ancestry with the Genographic Project on Monday evening at the American Museum of Natural History. Students from over eight local Universities were given the unique opportunity to test their DNA with the Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry…

Weaving Together the Traditions of the Lowa Women in Nepal

In this Genographic Legacy Fund grantee profile, Chhing Lhomi describes her efforts to keep the ancient skills and culture of cloth making alive in her community.

How Rare Am I? Genographic Project Results Demonstrate Our Extended Family Tree

Most participants of National Geographic’s Genographic Project can recite their haplogroup as readily as their mother’s maiden name. Yet outside consumer genetics, the word haplogroup is still unknown. Your haplogroup, or genetic branch of the human family tree, tells you about your deep ancestry—often thousands of years ago—and shows you the possible paths of migration…

DNA From Ancient Site in Spain Reshapes Human Family Tree

Six weeks ago I suggested that 2013 was already the breakthrough year for molecular anthropology, but 2013 is ending with yet another highlight. Yesterday, Nature published a stop-you-in-your tracks piece that scrambles the scientific picture of our ancient relatives.  The world-leading Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany successfully sequenced the mitochondrial genome…

Genetic Research in the Caribbean Goes Deeper Than DNA

Anthropological fieldwork and laboratory analysis have been at the core of the Genographic Project since its launch in 2005.  Working at that core are scientists from eleven regional research centers spread around the globe collaborating with local indigenous populations to gather and analyze genetic data. In addition to DNA sampling and analysis, learning about the…

The Genographic Project Returns to Ireland to Reveal DNA Results

Hundreds of County Mayo, Ireland residents gathered earlier this week to learn first hand what their DNA could show them about their ancient past. From Viking ancestry to descending from Niall of the Nine Hostages, the genetics of County Mayo proved intriguing, reaching far beyond Guinness and the rolling green landscape.

Awakening the Language & Culture of Ancient Maya

By Rachel Bruton, The Genographic Project   It is estimated that by 2100, more than half of the 7,000 languages spoken on Earth will have disappeared. Throughout human history, languages have come and gone, but the rate at which languages are disappearing has accelerated dramatically in recent years. Why does it matter? National Geographic’s Enduring…

Unveiling the Halloween Monster DNA in Everyone

For all the external adornments, Halloween costume-wearers will never really become the character without the monster mojo inside. But is it possible that they or you do indeed carry monster DNA?

Ötzi the Iceman Leads a Wave of Genetics Buzz

The popularity of recent news reports on the DNA of the mummy Ötzi remind us that genetic breakthroughs are reaching far beyond white-lab-coat laboratories. Will 2013 be remembered as the year that genetics went main stream?