AA DNAAnalysis of an African-American man’s Y-chromosome shows that the most recent common ancestor of all humans with a Y-chromosome (men) lived in Africa about 338,000 years ago.  Previously known modern human fossil records “only” go back about 200,000 years. The South Carolina man’s DNA was a match for 11 men in west Cameroon in Africa.

The University of Arizona geneticists made the discovery after a South Carolina man submitted his DNA to the National Geographic Genographic Project. His DNA was eventually passed on to another company Family Tree DNA where it was analyzed by the University of Arizona researchers who discovered the ancient link. The results have been published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

Michael Hammer, University of Arizona researcher, cautions that although this is an important discovery it is not proof of an “original man,” the idea that all of humanity came from one pair of humans.  “It is a misconception that the genealogy of a single genetic region reflects population divergence. Instead, our results suggest that there are pockets of genetically isolated communities that together preserve a great deal of human diversity,” said Hammer in a statement.

Many African-Americans who are interested in family tree research have turned to DNA companies to find out more  genealogical information because paper trails tend to dry up in the 19th century for those with enslaved ancestors. “There has been a lot of hype with people trying to trace their Y chromosome to different tribes, but this individual from South Carolina can say he did it,” noted Hammer.

Have you ever taken a DNA test to discover more about your lineage?

Demetria Irwin is a New York City-based freelance writer/editor. Follow her on Twitter, @Love_Is_Dope.


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  • GeekMommaRants

    Our genetics are superior to the rest of humanity. Africans are the oldest hominids. It sounds arrogant, it’s not, just a validated scientific fact. DEAL!!

    • Josh Mishel

      That’s backwards thinking, wasn’t that same hammer used to justify enslaving us. Besides, if you are going to say something like that, at least make sure it can be so easily turned on its head, i.e. Africans are the least evolved hominids

  • Anthony

    I had a genetics test done when a company was offering free tests to build up the number of African Americans in their data bank. I got a ton of cool information.

    • Sandra

      I wasd born.

    • Sandra

      Sorry, I meant I was born there.

  • One of my relatives had DNA testing done and found that we (my family’s ancestors) are from Cameroon too.

  • Nakia

    I had a DNA test done but it wasn’t a through one. It only gave me regions and percentages (77% sub-Saharan African, 22% native American, 1% European). Was not very useful but I would love a more in depth test.

  • I would like to get one