Ancestry tracing provides people with information about where they hail from and also who their ancestors are. With high-scale migrations that took place in history, many a time, people find peace in knowing about their roots, their family members, and the culture and commonalities that they share with others who have the same origin as them. One such company that is offering this specifically for people of African descent is African Ancestry Inc.
The company was founded by Dr. Rick Kittles and Gina Paige and is based out of Silver Spring, Maryland. African Ancestry is the world leader in ancestry tracing for people of color, especially those of African descent. The company has helped over 7,50,000 people trace their roots and their family tree using the company's database of over 30,000 African DNA samples.
African Ancestry is one of its kind company which helps people determine not just their country of origin but also their ethnicity. The advantage that African Ancestry has in the field is that they have the largest database of African DNA samples. The reason that they have such an extensive database is because of their aim to help black people determine their origin and their ancestors.
Unlike companies like 23andMe, who give you health traits and genetic susceptibility as one of their main offerings, African Ancestry’s sole purpose is to help people find their roots. The company allows one to trace their maternal as well as paternal lineages.
African Ancestry: Tests and Results
African Ancestry offers three test kits, namely MatriClan Test Kit, PatriClan Test Kit, and Family celebration package. Unlike other DNA ancestry tracing companies, African Ancestry Inc. does not use the admixture analysis technique. This is because the company doesn’t run extensive tests on autosomal DNA but relies mainly on the DNA found in the mitochondria and the Y chromosomes.
MatriClan Test Kit
This test is for both men and women. The test traces maternal ancestry by analyzing the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) inherited exclusively from mothers. In fact, you share the same mtDNA as your mother, grandmother, great grandmother and so on. According to the website, 92% of MatriClan's results are African.
If in case, your results are not African, the company will determine whether your maternal ancestry is European, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Indigenous American, but you will not provide a country or a group.
Results include HVS1, HVS2 and HVS3 designations and haplogroup.
PatriClan Test Kit
This test is for men only. The test analyzes the Y chromosome that men inherit exclusively from their fathers. Women cannot take the PatriClan Test. However, women have the option to trace their paternal lineage by having a male relative from their father’s side take the test. According to the website, 65% of PatriClan's results are African.
If in case, your results are not African, the company will determine whether your maternal ancestry is European, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Indigenous American.
You also have the option to buy both the kits together and save $25 on each kit.
Family Celebration Package
The Family Celebration Package includes:
- One MatriClan Test Kit - $299
- One PatriClan Test Kit - $299
- Six additional personalized certificates - $60
- Four African Ancestry t-shirts - $100
The Tshirts you receive will reflect either the country of ancestry or the African Ancestry Map design. The countries included are Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
Other than the DNA test kits, you can also shop from their collection of Ancestry Pendants, Ancestry T-shirts, and other Ancestry gifts.
How it works?
Depending on the test you purchase, African Ancestry analyzes either the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) you inherit from your mother, the Y chromosome that men inherit from their fathers, or the autosomal DNA that you inherit from both parents. To get started, you will need to send a simple swab sample from inside your cheek. After they receive your sample, the geneticists at the company run tests to determine if you have African DNA. The detailed report provided by them mentions the country of the individual's origin from the African continent and which ethnic group you share your origins with. In case the individual has no African DNA, the company will help him/her know if they have European, Middle-Eastern, Asian, or Native American DNA.
What Does the African Ancestry DNA Report Contain?
Once an individual orders the DNA test from the African Ancestry website, it takes about eight weeks to receive the report. Along with the test reports, one also gets a certificate of ancestry provided by the company, the printout of their DNA sequence, a brochure that uses a map to scientifically explain the individual’s place of origin, the path of migration of his/her genes, a digital ancestry guide and also a membership to their exclusive online community.
There are several online reviews on various websites about what people have said about African Ancestry and their DNA testing. In fact, many famous people such as Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, Maya Angelou have tried African Ancestry DNA testing.
Is African Ancestry Portable with Other Test Results?
African Ancestry allows DNA portability in case one has already purchased a DNA analysis done by another company. In this case, one can upload their DNA results on their website and pay a lesser amount ($210) than the original cost of their test. They do not provide a list of accepted raw data providers, but they do have specific requirements for the genetic data they will accept and evaluate. You can learn more about those requirements here.
African Ancestry Inc. is doing a phenomenal job by bridging the gap between people of African descent and their origins.
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