29 June 2007

We are all African: DNA

Dr. Spencer Wells is explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and the director of the Genographic Project. His article in the July issue of Vanity Fair magazine is thought-provoking.

To learn about the Genographic Project, click here

Do you think you know who you are? Maybe Irish, Italian, Jewish, Chinese, or one of the dozens of other hyphenated Americans that make up the United States melting pot? Think deeper - beyond the past few hundred years. Back beyond genealogy, where everyone loses track of his or her ancestry - back in that dark, mysterious realm we call prehistory.

What if I told you every single person in America - every single person on earth - is African? With a small scrape of cells from the inside of anyone's cheek, the science of genetics can even prove it.
To read how it works, how each person has received DNA from their parents and so on for "millions of generations to the very beginning of life on earth," read Spencer Well's article in Vanity Fair here.

The end result: If you share a marker with someone, you share an ancestor with him or her at some point in the past: the person whose DNA first had the marker that defines your shared lineage. These markers can be traced to relatively specific times and places as humans moved across the globe. The farther back in time and the closer to Africa we get, the more markers we all share.

Take some time and read the entire article.


  1. Anonymous3:09 AM

    Great article! Thanks for telling us about it. :)

  2. Schelly, I'll second that - definitely time well spent in reading the full article! Thanks for the link.