23andMe Scientists Hope to Use DNA Testing to Help Black Americans Rediscover Their African Roots

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A Mountain View, California, personal genomics and biotechnology company has announced that it will conduct a study to help African-Americans better understand where they came from prior to the transatlantic slave trade.

In a Nov. 23 report by RT America, a team of scientist from the company 23andMe said its aim is to create a genetic database from the company’s customers and the public that will identify the cultural impact the transatlantic slave trade had on Black people.

The scientists will recruit hundreds of people from sub-Saharan African regions, areas known to have been places where victims of the trade were captured. While they are not exactly sure what they will find, they hope to reveal the genetic connections that will give Black Americans back their connection to Africa.

Additionally, the research and testing will attempt to answer questions about Black identity. For instance, the scientists hope to find out whether some Black people in America came from major regions on the African continent, thus proving not all victims of the slave trade came from the West Coast.

Prior to this project, data about enslaved Africans’ origins generally came from shipping records. The scientists at 23andMe are hopeful DNA testing will help them fill in the gaps.

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