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The Monday Morning DNA Testing Company Review – African Ancestry

African Ancestry has had a very good year.  The popular PBS series ‘African American Lives’, which analyzed the African roots of nine famous figures (such as Oprah, Quincy Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Tucker, and Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot), used the African Lineage Database developed by the Scientific Director of African Ancestry, Dr. Rick Kittles.  This publicity has resulted in African Ancestry being featured in a wide array of newspaper and magazine articles around the world.

African Ancestry offers two types of DNA analysis, the Matriclan test and the Patriclan test.  The Matriclan test sequences a portion of an individual’s mtDNA to determine whether the ancestry of that lineage is African, European, or other ethnic group.  If the ancestry is African the company will compare the sequence to the African Linage Database.  This exclusive database is African Ancestry’s strongest selling point.  It contains lineages sampled from over 30 countries and 160 ethnic groups in Africa.  The maternal lineage database, for example, contains almost 14,000 samples.

The Patriclan test analyzes nine markers of a male’s Y chromosome (DYS388, DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393, DYS394, and the YAP) and compares the results to the African Lineage Database.  The Database contains almost 12,000 paternal lineages.  African Ancestry is careful to note that 30% of Black paternal lineages tested are of European descent.  If this is the case the company has the resources to compare the results to a worldwide database.

African Ancestry’s African Lineage Database is a fantastic tool to accompany traditional research done by African Americans who typically run into genealogical brick walls due to a paucity of 19th-century records.  It should be noted that the Matriclan and Patriclan tests are being offered for a special reduced rate as of 17 February 2007.

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007