Making DNA Matches
Rick Kittles’ comments fail to address one important fact (see “Regaining A Lost Heritage,” Feb. 8). Half of all African-American mitochondrial DNAs are exact matches to mtDNAs from multiple African ethnic groups. Therefore, half of all African-Americans cannot be matched to a single ethnic group. This fact will be true regardless of the size of the database used for comparison. If African Ancestry were to provide its clients with all of the exact matches to mitochondrial DNA sequences in their database, I would have no quarrel with their service. In fact, Toni Coleman’s discussion of her personal results suggest that African Ancestry may have already begun to provide this information.
— Dr. Bert Ely
Professor of Biological Sciences
University of South Carolina
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