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Genealogical Facebook?

People are becoming so much more comfortable talking about their genomes and tying personal genetics into their family trees these days that genetic genealogy could become the next "Facebook of science," Miguel Vilar writes for National Geographic.

Vilar offers scenes from the first International Conference for Genetic Genealogy, held last in Chevy Chase, Md., in which Genographic Project Director and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Spencer Wells gave a keynote on the growing popularity of the field.

"In 2013, the one-millionth person tested their DNA," Wells said, "just 12 years since the first human genome was sequenced. But this summer the two-millionth person has already tested their DNA.

Another speaker, Oleg Balanovsky talked about the Genographic Project, a Nat Geo effort to investigate historical and genetic patterns from people around the globe.

Vilar says the hot topic of the conference was citizen science. As the public is "generally more comfortable talking about their personal genomic details" and the interest in science rises, he writes, "People are encouraging friends and family to test and study their DNA."