Tracing Our Ancestors

Rick Kittles’ lecture’s primary focus was on African ancestry and diversity within varying countries and continents. He described the United States as a melting pot, a place where differing people are joined together. This is obvious to most people. To hear that Africa is the most genetically diverse continent in the world was unexpected. Seemingly, although there is an overlap in genes (as all places possess), Africa exhibits many forms of DNA (polymorphisms). Kittles then goes on to tell his audience that pigment of a person’s skin is very misleading and introduces 23andMe, MatriClan, and PatriClan, programs/companies that provide rapid genetic testing to individuals who are curious as to what genetic markers they have. The programs seemed intriguing, and although Kittles himself verified the systems by telling us he recently found out he is part German, they seemed too good to be true. Overall, coming to the lecture as an AP Biology student, I expected something other than what was presented. The lecture related to what we covered on evolution, but I wanted to learn more than just facts about Africa and its cultural and linguistic diversity.

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