Rowan University associate professor Kathleen Pereles had no idea she had Native American aboriginal roots. The DNA in Pereles' cheek cells revealed that the management professor's maternal ancestors traveled from Africa, north to Siberia, across the Bering Strait into North America more than 15,000 years ago.

The unexpected finding was one of many received by 60 Rowan students and 10 faculty members participating in the Genographic Project, a worldwide investigation launched in 2005 by National Geographic and IBM.

The group joined more than 300,000 public participants who have purchased $100 DNA-gathering kits online. Scientists in Arizona analyze the cells for genetic mutations or markers that link people to geographically oriented "haplogroups." From that, researchers generate a confidential migratory map and narrative for each participant.

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