Tracing Our Ancestors

At UIC, Rick Kittles, Ph.D., offered a talk on genealogy that not only served as review for the things we learned about genetics in Honors Biology, but also an explanation of how the applications are allowing a better understanding of what diversity really is. Ancestry though genetic lineage not only allows for accuracy in tracing family tendencies to certain diseases, but also to drive home the fact that diversity is more the just skin tone. The fact that Africa has the most variation is something I feel gets glossed over a lot, and society has done so further by polarization. This is particularly evident in Rick Kittles himself, who while having dark pigmentation, has German ancestry. Some families have very good cataloging of their family trees, but for those who are adopted or have no relics to draw from, it’s pretty difficult to understand your roots. With the tests and services Kittles detailed, it gets easier to figure out just where your genes came from and, in the case of 23 and Me, how they manifest in you.

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