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August 04, 2003

Real Roots

Wired story documents the information that black Americans are finding about their maternal & paternal lineages through genetic testing [1]. This is great-it might not be practical in a utilitarian fashion-but this is the sort of stuff that is included in more than "bread & water." Most people have made-up genealogies beyond a few generations, but at least they know their aproximate ethnic derivation-black Americans are (were) denied that.

By the way, my title references the fact that Alex Haley's Roots is basically total fiction, something that one of the credulous people interviewed obviously did not realize as she speaks about knowing her roots too, just like Haley.

[1] Of course, this is only one lineage, mtDNA -> mother's-mother's-mother's.... and Y chromosome -> father's-father's-father's.... But big deal, many Sudanese "Arabs" are Arab because of ONE male Arab ancestor.

Posted by razib at 05:02 PM

There was a program on the BBC a few months ago about this. They tested the patrilineages of a group of Black Britons. The best part was when some annoying afro-centrist found out that they had discovered where his Y chromosome originated, Germany.

Posted by: RF at August 5, 2003 03:34 AM