Why we selected Living DNA and GPS Origins as great testing sites far more advance than Ancestry.com/DNA or 23andMe.com.
How many races are there?
Through the advancement of genetics and other scientific discovery, academics and scientists have proven that race does not exist as a biological construct. Exposing the similarities in DNA and enhancing understanding about the human journey seeks to challenge these damaging ideas and ultimately reduce racism.
Follow the journey, step on the path. Tell your story with DNA, and acknowledge all of your relatives no matter what their nationality maybe.
Your African heritage can help others discover theirs.
Join the African Genetics Project and help people across the world uncover their African roots.
African Genetics Project Enrollment
You just need to answer some eligibility questions to see if you qualify.
Please check that you meet all criteria below:
- All four of your grandparents were born in the same African country or come from the same ethnic or tribal group within one of the following countries: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sudan, Togo.
- You reside in the United States
- You have internet access
- You can read and write English fluently
- You are over 18 years old
Who is enrolling?
- Enrolling myself
- Enrolling as legal representative for another adult
Genetics Project” Update April 15, 2017
Published by 23andMe under 23andMe Research, Ancestry October, 2016
To enhance its research and enrich its customer experience, 23andMe is launching the African Genetics Project, Africa_icon recruiting people who emigrated from, or whose parents emigrated from several specific countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Africa is the birthplace of all humanity, and its people are the most genetically diverse in all the world, yet our knowledge of that diversity is limited. This newest project follows continuing efforts by 23andMe to enrich our understanding of the human story and increase diversity in genetic research, while also providing more detailed ancestry results for 23andMe customers with recent African ancestry.
23andMe’s African Genetics Project is offering kits at no cost to people with all four of their grandparents born in the same African country or from the same ethnic or tribal group within one of the following countries — Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ivory coast, Liberia, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Togo. The west African countries in that list are a priority for 23andMe because the majority of slaves brought from Africa to the Americas were brought from these African locations. We are also gathering data from individuals with all four grandparents from Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia to aid in identifying ancestry for more recent immigrants and to improve our reference populations for Africa.
This effort is unique in many respects, but primarily because it allows people of African ancestry who know where in Africa their family came from, to help others with African ancestry discover more about their own African roots. The effort may also yield insights into the TransAtlantic slave trade, and migrations within Africa over the last few hundred years.
While the goals of this project are focused primarily on improving ancestry insights, the African Genetics Project is part of a long list of efforts undertaken by 23andMe to improve diversity in research. Some estimates show that more than 90 percent of the research into the genetics underlying disease is on individuals of European descent alone, but for many conditions an individual’s ethnicity plays an important role and the insights from those studies fall short of helping people of other backgrounds.
There are a number of reasons for the lack of diversity — historical, cultural, economic and social — but by reaching out and recruiting people from all backgrounds it will also ensure that everyone benefits from advances in genetic science.
Over the last five years, 23andMe has undertaken several initiatives on that front including its Roots Into the Future project to study the genetics of disease impacting African Americans, the first-ever genetic portrait of the United States that mapped the country’s Native American, African and European ancestry, and more recently a NIH-funded project to develop a new way to detect disease causing genetic variants among ethnically mixed populations.
Taken together, these initiatives have helped 23andMe improve diversity in its research. The African Genetics Project is part of that same effort and it will allow 23andMe to identify genetic similarities of people from specific locations in Africa. This in turn will not only improve what we can tell our customers with African ancestry, but will also aid our research into how people migrated within and from Africa over the last 5,000 years.
Myth: A DNA test can pinpoint precisely where
your ancestors lived or which tribe they belonged to.
If your ancestors and their offspring had stayed in one geographic
region and never allowed outsiders to enter, it would be relatively
easy to distinguish their DNA (and yours) from the DNA of
people living in other regions. Over time, all of the inhabitants of
your region would come to share specific genetic mutations (usually
harmless changes in DNA), which would identify them as a
distinct population, the same way a surname identifies members
of a family.
But our ancestors didn’t stay in one place. For thousands of
years, humans have moved about, leaving their genetic imprints
wherever they procreate and making it increasingly difficult for
geneticists to distinguish one region’s population from another’s.
Scientists can make inferences about your ancestry based on
trends among populations, but they can’t say for sure that your
ancestors lived in a specific country, much less a specific town.
Testing companies analyze a person’s genetic makeup by comparing
his or her DNA to a reference database of DNA samples
from modern individuals living in various regions—such as residents
of present-day African countries. But it’s important to keep
in mind that today’s inhabitants of a given region are genetically
different from the people who lived there before migration
occurred. Just because your DNA matches the DNA of someone
who currently lives there, that doesn’t necessarily mean your
ancestors came from that place. Likewise, your DNA might
match that of a modern-day African tribe, but your ancestors may
not have identified with that particular group.
Biogeographical tests such as DNA Testing Systems’ DNA Fingerprint
tests will estimate where in the world your ancestors originated. Yet scientists haven’t agreed upon definitions for even
broad genetic ethnicities, so if you test with more than one company, you may get different results.
By combining genetic genealogy and traditional genealogical
research methods, however, you can make headway in pinpointing
your family’s origins. As more people get tested and contribute
both their DNA test results and their family trees to online
databases (see myth 5 for more on these), scientists will be able to
identify additional patterns and draw better conclusions.
Genetic Communities™ White Paper: Predicting fine-scale ancestral origins from the genetic sharing patterns among millions of individuals
Catherine A. Ball, Erin Battat, Jake K. Byrnes, Peter Carbonetto, Kenneth G. Chahine, Ross E. Curtis, Eyal Elyashiv, Ahna Girshick, Julie M. Granka, Harendra Guturu, Eunjung Han, Ariel Hippen Anderson, Eurie Hong, Amir Kermany, Natalie M. Myres, Keith Noto, Kristin A. Rand, Shiya Song, Yong Wang(in alphabetical order).
AncestryDNA™ offers several genetic analyses to help customers discover, preserve, and share their family history. Some of the features offered to date are based exclusively on genetic information. These include a genetic ethnicity or ancestry inference (described in Ethnicity Estimate White Paper) and an identity-by-descent (IBD) or DNA matching analysis (Matching White Paper). Other features, like DNA Circles, rely on the integration of pedigree and IBD data across the entire AncestryDNA database (DNA Circles White Paper). Each of these features provides complementary information to an ancestryDNA member: (1) the ethnicity estimate provides a distant picture of a customer’s genetic origins, perhaps hundreds or thousands of years ago; (2) DNA matches provide a customer with a list of fellow AncestryDNA test-takers who are relatives and with whom she or he shares a common ancestor within the last 10 generations; (3) DNA Circles integrate IBD and pedigree data to provide a customer with groups of relatives that appear to share DNA with one another due to a specific shared ancestor, to potentially reinforce their connection to this ancestor. In combination, these features provide a detailed portrait of an individual’s genetic ancestry.
Here, we augment these DNA and pedigree-based insights even further with our new genetic communities feature (Figure 1.1). Instead of considering the IBD connection between each pair of customers in isolation, we simultaneously analyze more than 20 billion connections identified among over 2 million AncestryDNA customers as a large genetic network (described in Section 3). Intuitively, because the estimated IBD connections between individuals are likely due to recent shared ancestry (within the past 10 generations), broader patterns in this large network likely represent recent shared history. The result is that we can identify clusters of living individuals that share large amounts of DNA due to specific, recent shared history. For example, we identify groups of customers that likely descend from immigrants participating in a particular wave of migration (e.g. Irish fleeing the Great Famine), (Insert: Duke B. Montgomery, Genetic Genealogist, force migration of African and South American Indians and enslavement of Native Americans), or customers that descend from ancestral populations that have remained in the same geographic location for many generations (e.g. the early settlers of the Appalachian Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains). Following the identification of these clusters of individuals in the entire network, we can then assign any AncestryDNA customer to one or more of these clusters based on their IBD with other AncestryDNA members. Such assignment can provide a customer with insight into their recent ancestral history, in some cases traceable back to a historical event.
In the following coming sections, (Section 2) I will turn away for a moment to describe haplogroups which is specific to African and African-Americans, their geographical locations and population. Example of two families, one in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and the other living in two places in Henderson and Sayersville, Kentucky. You will be able to use this data to look at your own haplogroup. Genetic Communities is fine as long as you can apply it to yourself and to your family research. After that, we will turn back to the scientific principles behind the genetic network (Sections 3 and 4), how Ancestor identify clusters within it (Sections 5 and 6), their use of DNA and pedigree data to annotate these clusters (Section 7), and finally our method for assigning customer samples to these clusters (Section 8).