African and African-American populations are underrepresented in genetic research. For a limited time, 23andMe is offering a free kit to individuals with Sub-Saharan African ancestry.

The goal of the project is to improve 23andMe’s ancestry product through a better understanding of genetic diversity within Africa. They are specifically interested in reaching individuals from countries associated with the American slave trade in order to help African-Americans trace their roots.

Participation is simple. Answer a few questions about your ancestry and if you meet the eligibility criteria, 23andMe will ship you a kit. Participants will have access to all the features of 23andMe, including personalized health and ancestry information, at no additional cost.

To be eligible you must:

  1. have four (4) grandparents from the same sub-Saharan African country. Countries of interest include Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo , Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.
  2. be 18 years of age,
  3. have Internet access and be willing to take an online survey about ancestry and provide a saliva sample,
  4. live in the United States in a state that allows 23andMe shipping. (Maryland is not one of those states)

To enroll in the project, and learn more about 23andMe, visit their site: https://www.23andme.com/cohort/africanancestry/

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  • How can I know if I have Sub-Saharan African Ancestry without the kit?

  • I’m really outta luck on this one, all four of mine are from different countries altogether- Ireland, Ghana, Panama & Cuba! Dang it.

  • Erin

    I’ve taken a test similar to this years ago. My ancestry came back to multiple groups or populations in west Africa, some in southern Africa too.

  • Luci

    Well, if I knew my grandparents’ lineages like that, I wouldn’t need a test. :-/

    • zenithentertainment

      Exactly my thought. I was wondering if I misread it.

  • J

    from what i assume it isnt the people who are offered the test who are benefiting realy, just sounds like they need more markers (however you call it, im not scientist) to reference from those of that region, so when you a paying customer sends off for your dna test they can give you a more accurate breakdown and im guessing this is the cheapest way for them to do it. I amjust using my cynicism and and guess work, as theres always an angle with things like this.

    • Cara

      It actually does benefit the individual because they receive a free health report as well as the ability to connect with genetic cousins. The service is actually pretty diverse and normally costs around $99. The company benefits because they can improve their ancestry composition product so it is a win-win. The company has a similar offer for people with Parkinson’s to aid in medical research.