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  • Project contributors: Mills M, Kashyap R,

    This Project is part of the following research programme/s:

    Connecting Generations

    Overview

    Life course events related to fertility, partnerships and death are the result of processes that have occurred over multiple generations. This project combines knowledge from molecular genetics, genetic genealogy, demography and sociology with administrative and historical records to ask new questions about how generations and kinship networks are connected. For the first time, genetic data will be linked with outcomes derived from digital and social media profiles and family networks. Together these unique datasets will allow us to examine genealogies and intergenerational transmission of ages at birth, marriage and educational and occupational transitions, family composition and mortality from c.1800 to the present. Genetic and genealogy data combined with linked administrative and historical data will examine migration and diffusion of family networks. This will engage in not only standard family tree genealogy research, but also link with evolutionary history analysis, social network models and recent techniques in genetics that allow inferences about the geographical origin of the patrilineal and matrilineal line.

    This project will make use of novel intergenerational data containing genetic, social and health information for multiple generations, such as NHS 'Our Future Health' data, and 'Familinx' crowd-sourced genealogy data. These data include demographic information and key life course events on 86 million individuals, and genealogical data on 43 million individuals with lineage, demographic characteristics and selected additional traits. It will be complemented by data from the ERC-funded social business enterprise DNA4Science, which crowdsources genetic, family tree genealogy, social survey, wearables and social media data. Probabilistic techniques will be employed to match historical micro-data records for intergenerational examination. This will enable us to ask fundamentally new questions, addressing the relative contribution of genetic and socio-environmental elements to key life course outcomes related to fertility, mortality, education and occupation.

    This research will shed light on how life course timings and trajectories persist and change over generations and how these may be driven by social environmental and biologically inherited family factors. The findings will inform current policy discussions within DWP and DfE, especially around interventions and the 'levelling up' agenda.