Africans Have World’s Highest Genetic Diversity, Study Finds – News Report

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Africans Have World’s Highest Genetic Diversity, Study Finds

Africans are more genetically diverse than the inhabitants of the rest of the world combined, according to a sweeping study that carried researchers into remote regions to sample the bloodlines of more than 100 distinct populations.

The report, published yesterday in the journal Science Express, suggests that, because of historical migrations and genetic mixing across the continent, it will be hard for African Americans to trace their ancestry in fine detail.


The first anatomically modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago, and all humans today are their direct descendants. The study points to an area along the Namibia-South Africa border, the homeland of the San people, as the starting point for a southwest-to-northeast migratory route that carried people through Africa and across the Red Sea into Eurasia.


“This is an absolute landmark. It’s incredible,” said Alison Brooks, a professor of anthropology and international affairs at George Washington University. “It’s the most comprehensive document ever published describing the very complex issue of African genetic variation.” She added, “There’s been so much genetic analysis that’s been so Eurocentric.”


Although the study’s main focus was on Africa, Tishkoff and her colleagues studied DNA markers from around the planet, identifying 14 “ancestral clusters” for all of humanity. Nine of those clusters are in Africa. “You’re seeing more diversity in one continent than across the globe,” Tishkoff said.

Her team looked at 98 African Americans from North Carolina, Baltimore, Chicago and Pittsburgh. The researchers determined that, on average, 71 percent of their genes could be traced to the far-flung African linguistic group Niger-Kordofanian, 8 percent to other African groups and 13 percent to Europe, with a smattering of genetic markers pointing to other places on the globe.


Her findings provide a kind of caveat to the increasingly popular gene-based genealogical searches among African Americans. Tishkoff studied very short snippets of nuclear DNA; some commercial research companies focus only on the Y chromosome or on a type of DNA known as mitochondrial DNA. These latter techniques can offer a kind of thread into the past to a single ancestor, rather than to the full complement of ancestors.

“There is no relevance to what we do at African Ancestry,” said Rick Kittles, scientific director of that company. “We do not use nuclear markers like Sarah did in this study.”

Brooks, of George Washington University, said the report will help resolve academic debates among archeologists and linguists: “The study shows that single sources of data, whether from archaeology, oral history, genetics or linguistic similarity, are not sufficient to understand the complex history of an African region — one can be transmitted without the others, and each has a different story to tell about the past.”

By Joel Achenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 1, 2009

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3 thoughts on “Africans Have World’s Highest Genetic Diversity, Study Finds – News Report”

  1. It is not surprising that Africa(ns) bear the widest variation of Human DNA on the planet, after all humanity began in Africa. The Original hue-man is Black. Science.

    On the report’s caveat that African Americans should not put too much weight into the gene based tracing of their ancestry is nonsense. It contradicts the report itself!

    If you are over 70% African ( see the report) then it is obvious you are African. Such analyses are just diabolical interpretations to make Africans whose ancestors were kidnapped from home to doubt the validity/usefulness of their searches.

    Africans in the diaspora who are interested & can afford this technique should not be discouraged via such cheeky insertions in scientific papers. After all (as the report again reveals) one uses a multi-pronged approach; including oral history to ascertain one’s roots!

    Ethiopia Stretches Forth Her Arms For Her Children.

  2. Behold ye Philistia with Tyre; thou cursed children of lot,sons and daughters of heathen Chaldeans; Ehtiop-Iah shall arise; kings and Queens shall abound to claim their past Black Glory.Jah shall reign in Hola Theocracy n Babylon theology shall perish like Soddom and Gomarrah without a trace. Tell those pale white pig skins to produce a Black albino if they can,just as Black ancestors produced a caucus of albinos cal;led the Caucasian race; a caucus of asians miscalled Europe-anus. Chinese and other Asians descended from Black genes. check if Buddah isnt Black.Black genes are dominant, white genes recessive.Whites-Pink pork skins-Albinos get sun burnt and swine flu.the swine lot with dog noses should leave Jah Jah land,for disa time fe pay Back. Now the winds blow twowards Revelations of white attrocities and evil against Blacks and the revolution for African Unity-Liberation is drawing Nigh.Ras fe et all captive free from Babylon bondage. Jah wisdom shall break mental chains. the truth shall be revealed and it shall set all them who embrace it free. Eliza-bitch of the bloody crown shall eat dust; Ameri-kites beast shall burn-papaya vatican-buttycan Vampires shall burn into ashes and babylon shall be no more. Ras Live wire Needs an advocacy forum for African Unity. Ras Ishaka Isaza Nyabinghi.InI Jah Jah Black Prince . And the prophesy of Malcom, Mosaiah Messiah Garvey, Nkuruma,Mau Mau shall come true. Long live HIM Haille I Selah Most High. Blessin s of the conquering Lion of Judah

  3. This is very true…. I am a Nubian-Egyptian American born in Bronx Ny, and my Mother’s mtdna is 51% african and 49% west-asian and eurasian.. She belongs to haplogroup L2a1. My Father belongs to Y-chromosome M2/E3a , which has notable frequencies in North Africa, Middle eastern’ s west asia, as well as Great Britain and various parts of Europe. I have genetic studies and reports to solidify my claims, see my blog@

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