Genographic Projects: Early humans left Africa via Arabia

Summary:According to IBM and National Geographic's models and algorithms, it appears that humans migrated out of Africa through Arabia.

Early humans took a different route out of Africa through Arabia in the south, according to data the Genographic Project.

The Genographic Project, which combined IBM researchers with National Geographic, deployed a new analytical method that reconstructs common genetic history via recombinant DNA, which is transmitted from one generation to the next. Recombinant DNA covers 99 percent of the human genome, but hasn't been used to map human migration.

According to IBM and National Geographic's models and algorithms, it appears that humans migrated out of Africa through Arabia. It is commonly thought that humans left through the north via Egypt.

The findings will be outlined at a conference at the National Geographic Society.

Among the key details:

  • The African population is the most diverse on Earth.
  • Eurasian groups were more similar to populations from southern India, than they were to those in Africa.
  • That fact indicates that early humans left Africa via the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in Arabia before heading north. As a result, south Asia was the first stop for human explorers.
  • The analysis of genetic data took roughly six years. IBM researchers from its computational biology center said the new theory needs to be fleshed out by other fields such as archaeology and anthropology.

According to IBM, the Genographic Project had 500,000 individuals participate with field research conducted by 11 regional centers. The database is the largest collection of human population genetic information ever assembled.

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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