By using data culled from genealogy websites, computational biologist Yaniv Erlich has put together some of the largest family trees ever seen, including a single pedigree comprising 13 million individuals — some of whom date back 500 years.
Erlich recently presented his work at the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting in Boston. His work could provide a new tool for analyzing the extent to which genes influence certain traits, like personality, longevity, and facial features. Erlich recently made his database available to other researchers, but he removed all the names to ensure privacy. And indeed, other work by Erlich has considered the end of genetic anonymity.