Helping Find African Roots

Helping Find African Roots - Helping Find African Roots...

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Helping Find African Roots Jennifer Friedlin 08.04.03 | 2:00 AM Growing up, Jacqueline Pitts always felt a deep void in her knowledge of where her ancestors came from. As an African-American, she was frustrated that slave traders did not keep records to indicate where slaves were taken from or what tribes they belonged to. "Most of us were not as fortunate as Alex Haley was to be able to trace our roots," said Pitts, a retired corrections worker from Far Rockaway, New York. Until now. African Ancestry , a company based in Washington, D.C., has developed two DNA test kits for home use that can help African-Americans determine at least some of their genetic links to tribes in Africa. The company collects a user's DNA from a cheek swab, sequences a portion of the genetic material and then matches the sequence against a database that contains genetic information for about 90 African tribes living in West African countries such as Senegal, Mali and Nigeria. Although all humans are nearly identical on a genetic level, the company focuses on the mutations that occurred over the past 10,000 years, causing variations between African populations that often lived in geographic isolation from one another. There are literally millions of places to look in human DNA to find minute differences. Founded in February, the company has developed two tests to help African-Americans identify the lineage of their mother's maternal and father's paternal lines. The MatriClan test looks at
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This note was uploaded on 03/22/2010 for the course ENWR 110 taught by Professor Weckstein during the Spring '08 term at UVA.

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Helping Find African Roots - Helping Find African Roots...

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