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Dev World Bioeth. 2003 Dec;3(2):151-8.

Genetic ancestry tracing and the African identity: a double-edged sword?

Author information

National Human Genome Center, Department of Microbiology, College of Medicine, Howard University, 2216 6th Street, NW, Suite 206, Washington, DC 20059, USA.


As both a geneticist and a Nigerian living in the United States, the author responds to the prospect of African Americans using genetic science to trace their ancestry to the African continent. He articulates concerns about both the limitations of the science to offer satisfying, accurate, and meaningful results, and the ability of individuals to make real, life-altering sense of these results. However, he notes that given the history and impact of slavery on African Americans, the desire to trace roots to Africa is both real and understandable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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