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~30% of African American men possess Y chromosomes (paternal lineages) which originated in Europe


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This appears to be a transcript of a lecture given by Dr. Rick Kittles at the University of Minnesota about African American population genetics.

Slides of Dr. Kittle's preso

This page is a fascinating read. I came across it while trying to find whether there was any plausible scientific explanations for why exercise does not prevent obesity in black people as well as it does in other groups.

I had a random thought that it may be partially attributable to a genetic bottleneck from the rigors of the trans-Atlantic voyage. In looking for information on this, I came across the page from Dr. Kittles' lecture.

Kittles is an African American molecular biologist with a particular interest in black population genetics. Though he does say that there was a genetic bottleneck associated with the slave trade, the emotional aspects of the lecture were the most engaging, particularly the issues around black identity and how it's affected by having hard scientific proof that you are largely descended from European stock.

One of my favorite quotes from the article:

Somebody asked me yesterday, 'How do African-Americans reconcile finding out their paternal lineage isn't African but European?' I said, 'We know that already." So, it is not like we jump out the window or anything like that. Edward Ball wrote an excellent book Slaves in the Family. I turned it around: I have got some whites in the family. I've been saying this for a while, but now we've done the analysis and submitted it, 30% of African-American men possess Y-chromosomes or paternal lineages, which originate in Europe. I am one of them. This is largely due to the behavior of the slaveholders during the period of slavery in the US.

We know that every European male wasn't a slaveholder. From 2-10% of white males during that period in the US owned or had the opportunity to own slaves over their lifetime. Probably fewer had female slaves. Those who procreated with their enslaved African women servants were few. So if we do a study to find these European Y-chromosomes in the population now, many of them should be closely related because there were only but so many. I thinks Edward Ball in his book, estimated that he had over a hundred thousand African cousins because of the patriarch - I think he called him Redcap - who owned the plantation in Charleston. Redcap sired many "mulattos."

And also the following story about a time when he insensitively broke the news to a man who was not expecting it:

An individual came and wanted to get tested. This was early in the project when I was very naïve. I say that because you just cannot tell people this information and walk away. It is important to sit down and talk with these individuals. This man came, a big Afro-centric man, about 45, in African garb. He said, "I want to get tested to see where I fall in the database." He told me that his father told him something about his ancestry and his mother told him something. He wanted to confirm that. I ran the analysis and his paternal lineage was European, not African. His mitochondrial lineage was clustered with these Mandinka in Senegal and in Gambia. He came in and I gave him his results. I said, "Your paternal lineage is not African; it's European." He just froze. He froze, and then he sat down, quietly sat there. He did not say anything for 10 or 15 minutes. He said, "Are you sure?" I said, "Yes, we did the analysis. We ran it twice." He said, "Are you sure?" I said, "Yes, I am sure. I am positive."

His father told him that he was Mandinka. Many times we romanticize about these different African groups that we may have ancestry with. We don't have any knowledge, so we see Roots and we see the Mandinka and we say, OK, I am a Mandinka. So his father told him he was Mandinka on his side and his mother told him he was Mandinka on her side. After I told him that his father's side clustered in Europe, then he started thinking and said, "Well, what about my mother's side?" I said, "It was Mandinka, so she was right." He felt a little better but he was shattered. It scared me and I said to myself I'll never do that again. I'll never just sit and nonchalantly tell people these results because I had no idea of what his own perception of himself was and what he was told when he was younger growing up. So that was a major point in terms of my thinking about how to articulate this information to the community.

Once we realize there's no such thing as pure lineage -- that we're all related to each other -- the world will know peace.

Till then we gotta keep mixing and remixing.

Thank you for the fascinating link.

 Dunno how peaceful I feel on a worldwide scale when i consider the fact that a whole lot of that relatedness is down to rape.  Not sure how mixing and remixing sits with me in light of the fact that largely it is down to the fact that in probably every single colony, indigenous people were systematically raped and exploited. In the case of Australian Aborigines as a form of ethnic cleansing (that is behind the legalized and sponsered hunting and killing of the men) and well the whole bringing slaves to America and raping them there, that's a whole other level of obscene familiarity. 

 but bless. 

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