I have always wanted to know my ancestral roots as far back as I can remember. Being adopted somehow heightened my curiosity. Even though I have had a successful reunion with my biological family, the curiosity of my deep roots have never subsided. I saw this DNA testing as an opportunity to know more about my ancestral roots and about myself.
Below is an illustration of how sons carry their mother’s DNA and how the daughter passes on her mother’s DNA to her children. I know very little of biology and will not attempt to pretend that I do…All I know is that Science has advanced so much so over the years, that it has allowed others such as myself to learn more about their maternal line through DNA testing, and so here I am.
Photo from: http://www.genebase.com/store/product.php?spId=6
In July of 2011, I received an email from the National Urban League(NUL) stating that they were partnering with 23andme, with the intentions of encouraging people of African descent to participate in the testing of their DNA. The NUL and 23andme stated that there is a lack of participation of African Americans and there is little known about the connection between DNA & Disease in the African American. I have been a participant of a National longitudinal study of African American Women, and so I also saw this as an opportunity to find out what diseases I may be inheritable to, and find ways that I could prevent those diseases from occurring.
I have always identified as being African American with the knowledge that I have Mexican and some Indian Ancestry. All I know is DNA doesn’t lie, so here is what some of my information shows….Even though I do not understand what everything means.
My Maternal Haplogroup B2
My maternal Haplogroup is B2 which is found in Native American Ancestry, and U.S. Southwestern Groups. I believe that B2’s are also found in South America, North America and Asia.
My Ancestry Painting
So what this chart is showing that I am 48% European, 33 % African, and 18% Asian. Am I surprised…Well, yes and no. I thought I would be no more than 10% European, 50% African and 40% other.
What I find interesting from my Ancestry painting is that I have no long solid lines. I am totally intertwined with various colors in the chart.
I am very curious as to what my paternal line has to say about me. I would be thrilled if I could get one of my father’s brothers to take the DNA test for me, but I think that I will have to at least get one of my brothers soon to do this for me. On my maternal line, my Uncle and Grandfather recently died and so my hopes of getting anything from my maternal line will be impossible.
The Global Similarity chart of my DNA revealed that on my Maternal line that my DNA similarity is largely matched in South and North America.
I am hoping that I can get more clarity of my DNA as time goes on. The 23andme testing has been very valuable to me. I believe that I will be able to be a part of this health study for awhile. I am required to complete online surveys on my health, environment and behaviors. I hope more African Americans participate as this will be most helpful.
The other thing is that many African Americans state they are of Native American Ancestry. What we need to do is have our DNA studied so that there are more of us and there can be more info as to the actuality of this. I believe that since there are more Europeans in the DNA bank, they base the Native American Ancestry by their Genes. If I am mis-stating this, please let me know.
I am sure many of us have watched Finding Your Roots with Dr. Henry Louis Gates. He is an advocate for 23andme, and has stated in his program that many African Americans ancestry are of European descent rather than Native American. I am not sure of his statements because I think until more of us decide to participate we will not have a fuller picture as to our ancestry.
One thing that I know for sure is that I self-identify of the African American culture, so that is what I am.