Even so, Novembre says that he plans to extend this sort of research to cover larger parts of the world and individuals of mixed ancestry. "At the moment, if you have mixed grandparent ancestry you appear between the set of countries where the grandparents come from," he says. "So if they are part Italian and part British, they would appear in Switzerland. But we are working on algorithms that will be able to infer grandparent ancestry and get around this."Exactly what I've been saying for years.
Eventually, this sort of research is likely to be picked up by the growing number of companies offering DNA home tests over the Internet to people wishing to trace their genealogy. At the moment, these services tend to offer fairly rough pictures of one's origins. But as the microarray technology becomes cheaper and the statistical software used to map it becomes more sophisticated, these kinds of services should greatly improve, Novembre says.
Novembre working on admixture analysis
The lead author of the recent European genetic structure paper comments in Technology Review: