|Basically a box with two big Q-tips|
This is the DNA Test for the National Geographic Genographic project. For $200 they will send you two mouth swabs, which you swish around in your mouth, and then mail back to them. With the swab they are able to use your mitochondrial DNA and the DNA from your Y chromosome (if you are man) to trace your lineage back thousands of years. So far the project has hundred of thousands of participants from around the world and they are beginning to be able to trace the genetic trends and migration patterns of ancient people based on DNA markers. The results you get back from your mouth swab should be able to tell you from what individual woman you descended from and where your maternal ancestors moved and migrated to through the centuries.
These videos explains it much clearer than I would be able to do. It is really quite amazing.
If you are interested in more of the science behind the project, this webpage has some great videos.
Maybe I am strange, but I would LOVE to have this done. Here is why:
If you remember back to your 7th grade Biology class the "Y" chromosome is only found in males and is the sex-determination gene. If you have a "Y" Chromosome then you are a man, if not you are a woman. This means that the "Y" Chromosome has been passed down since the very first man to all other men living on the earth. Tracing it back can tell a man his paternal lineage. Yet only tracing the "Y" Chromosome gives us less than half the picture of humanity.
The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) on the other hand is found in both men and women. The mtDNA it is the "powerhouse" of the cell and is where cells create the energy they need to live. Scientists have discovered that within the mitochondria there are thirteen genomes that are the life activation sites where-- miraculously-- the cell creates the "spark" that makes life possible. The amazing thing about mitochondrial DNA is that it is ONLY passed on-- to both men and women-- through the mother. Men's mitochondrial DNA is contained in the sperm and it dies before it is passed on to the egg. So the only mitochondrial DNA that both men and women have comes from their mother. This means that by examining their mtDNA every person on earth would be able to trace their maternal lineage back to the very first woman. In fact, this woman is often called by scientists "Mitochondrial Eve." The woman to whom ALL of humanity-- both male and female-- has an unbreakable DNA chain back to.
It just takes my breath away to think about what that means.
It means that within the very first woman, this "Mitochondrial Eve", was given the literal power to activate life. That as she bore children that life force was passed on to her sons and her daughters in the from of their mtDNA. Then as Eve's daughters began to bear children they passed on the VERY same mtDNA to their children, thus giving them life. Their daughters then passed on that that life activating power to the next generation of women, who passed it onto their daughters, who passed it on and on until eventually that very same mitochondrial DNA (with a few mutations) is what now powers my cells and sustains my life force. It is incredible to think that I am literally connected in an unbroken chain of mtDNA, through all those generations of women, back to my very first mother.
It is the matriarchal order.
The matriarchal order is the plan, the lineage, the way through which ALL of God's children have, and will, enter mortality. There is no other way to get to this earth than through the body of woman. You just can't sneak in the back door, it doesn't work that way. If you want to come to earth and get a body you must pass through a woman's body into this world, and she must pass onto you those life activating cells. There is absolutely no other way to do it. Furthermore, once you have your body you will forever carry with you that mtDNA, a permanent and real link that seals you into the beautiful tree of humanity.
I loved how author and scientist Bryan Sykes explained his own feelings about this order in his book, "The Seven Daughters of Eve." He said:
" I am on a stage. Before me, in the dim light, all the people who have ever lived are lined up, rank upon rank, stretching far into the distance... I have in my hand the end of a thread which connects me to my ancestral mother way at the back. I pull on the thread and one woman's face in every generation, felling the tug, looks up at me. Their faces stand out from the crowd, and they are illuminated by a strange light. These are my ancestors. I recognize my grandmother in the front row, but in the generations behind her the faces are unfamiliar to me... There are all my mothers who passed this precious messenger [mitochondrial DNA] from one to another through thousands of births, a thousand screams and thousands of embraces of a thousand newborn babies. The thread becomes an umbilical chord." ( In "Eve and the Choice Made in Eden" by Beverly Campbell, pg 47-48In a similar way all who wish to enter into the Kingdom of God must pass through the patriarchal order. They must become "reborn", as Christ describes it, as the sons and daughters of God through the ordinances of the priesthood, which includes baptism, the endowment and sealings. These ordinances, which are recorded on heaven and on earth, makes it possible for there to be an unbroken sealing link through all generations. A link which literally makes it possible for us to be reborn into our resurrected immortal bodies, be cleansed from our sins, and enter into God's kingdom.
Really, the goal of all the work we do in our homes and in the church is aimed at having every person who has ever lived on earth spiritually sealed, bound, and connected together all the way back to Adam, just like we are already-- through the process of our birth-- physically sealed to our mother Eve. Understanding this makes everything we do in the gospel so much more clear to me. As author Beverly Campbell said,
"What insight this fundamental connection gives us of the gathering into families in the hereafter and therefore of the importance of genealogy and temple work. How marvelous is the plan of God and His wonderful scales of justice as He places recognition of the linkage of humankind through the mother and the lineage of the priesthood through the father." ("Eve and the Choice Made in Eden" by Beverly Campbell, pg. 48It is truly incredible when you start to think about it. It makes me want to shout with joy and spread the good news of the gospel from the housetops. It makes me want to stand beside the men in my life and help them honor and use their priesthood righteously; to help them to truly see and understand the marvelous work that God has entrusted to them on this earth. It makes me want to hug the women around me and say, "Do you understand? Can you see who you are? We have the most amazing bodies!" It makes me yearn to search out my ancestors and take their names to the temple. Yet more than anything, it makes my heart swell with joy and gratitude to the men and women who have sealed me into the family of God-- both physical and spiritually. Those men and women who have worked together to forge a matriarchal and a patriarchal order-- endlessly sealing and linking all of God's children together for eternity.
God has truly designed the work of this earth to be THE MOST beautiful partnership between men and women imaginable.
Which is why I think it would be really neat to get a little peek at my very own ancient maternal lineage for my birthday. Even though $200 does seem like a lot for two giant Q-tips.
A girl can always hope right?