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Korea Regional DNA Project

One Family Project

The One Family One World Project is a partnership between Living DNA and Eupedia initiated in 2017. The project aims to map the regional genetic variations of the world with a great level of detail and accuracy in order to improve our understanding of both recent and ancient migrations and see how humans are all connected with one another as one big family.

Genetic variations within Korea

Historical context

Now forming a unified ethnicity, the Koreans descend from several prehistoric populations from China, Manchuria and the Korean peninsula that came together during the Neolithic and the Korean Bronze Age.

Ancient DNA tests from the Neolithic Hongshang culture in Manchuria (Cui et al. 2013) showed that early farmers belonged to the Y-chromosomal haplogroups (paternal lineages) C2a, N1 and O3, which represent a over half of the modern paternal lineages in Korea today.

Bronze working, horse riding and chariots were brought by the Proto-Indo-Europeans to Mongolia, and from there spread to Korea around 3,500 years ago. Traces of European DNA have been found in modern Koreans, although Indo-European paternal lineages make up less than 1% of the population.

Modern Korea emerged as the fusion of three ancient kingdoms, Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla, who originally had distinct languages. They were also probably (slightly) different genetically, and some of these differences may perdure at the regional level today. In fact, modern Korean dialects can be grouped to match these ancient kingdoms. For example the Jeolla and Chungcheong dialects correspond geographically to the kingdom of Baekje, while the Gyongsang dialect is spoken on the original territory of Silla. This implies that the Korean population did not blend thoroughly over the centuries and that regional disparities have survived.

Objective & Methodology

The project's goal is to determine whether regional genetic differences truly exist between the various regions of the Korean peninsula and whether they match the dialect zones and/or the extent of ancient kingdoms.

Proposed genetic regions of Korea

Our preliminary research indicates at least 12 areas of Korea may have distinct genetic differences.

Proposed genetic divisions of Korea - One Family One World DNA Project
  • Chungcheon
  • Gyonggi
  • Hamgyong
  • Hwanghae
  • Jeju
  • North Gangwon
  • North Gyongsang
  • North Jeolla
  • Pyongan
  • South Gangwon
  • South Gyongsang
  • South Jeolla

How do I qualify?

The One Family project is open to everyone worldwide and has two parts.

  • 1. To build a genetic family tree of everyone from around the world, regardless of where your family comes from.
  • 2. To build a regional genetic breakdown of ancestry within countries, similar to 'The Peopling of the British Isles project'. This part of the project is looking for people with all four grandparents born within 80km (50mi) of each other inside our project areas of interest.

If you have already tested with Living DNA, all you need to do to join the project is log into your account, click on the Research tab and choose to participate in our global ancestry research project, if you haven't already done it.

If you already tested your DNA with another company (23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, or FTDNA's Family Finder), you can join the project here for free. After submitting the form with your family information, you will receive an email to confirm the creation of your Living DNA account and will be asked to upload your genome there for free.

If you have not yet tested your DNA with one of the above companies, then you will need to order a Living DNA test to take part.

The data provided as part of the project is kept strictly private and confidential under Living DNA’s ISO:27001 certification for information security. Please read Living DNA's Privacy Policy for more information.


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