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Who am I? And where am I from?
Mark Shriver is an American geneticist and Professor of Biological Anthropology at Penn State University. He analysed his own DNA and the results were surprising. It turned out that he had 25 per cent African ancestry.
‘No one in my family had ever discussed the fact that we had this recent West African ancestry, but I think it's great. I've studied a mixture for 10 years now and I'm even an example myself. And I'm not unique among American whites. Our best estimates now put the level of European Americans with West African ancestry at around 10%, each having about one great grandparent of African ancestry.Our results showed a slight relationship between percentage of African ancestry and skin colour, but it's not a strong one. Even people with 100% African ancestry have widely varying skin pigmentation. Although skin colour can be an indicator of proportions of African and European genetic contribution, the bottom line is "you can't tell by looking".’
Debate started 10/02/2004
REPLIES POSTED: 16
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BACKGROUND:

Who am I? And where am I from? These are fundamental questions that encompass our sense of past, present and future. Further developments in genetics and DNA testing have revealed some of the answers to our genetic identity. Examples of the technology developed, such as the first genetic fingerprint, can be found in the NMSI collections.

Visible characteristics have long been used to group people into one race or another, sometimes with horrific consequences, but genetic studies have revealed our underlying similarities. Genetic analysis has shown that skin colour, or other visible characteristics are no clear indication of race, genetically we are all a very mixed bunch.

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Name / Country Comment
Admin Admin Posted 10/02/2004 16:53
Just how black is this white man?
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Barnacle Bill Posted 27/06/2004 16:20
United States Shame on you for posing this debate topic in such a misleading way. Breakthroughs in genetic science have shown that we are both all alike and all different. Any healthy human being shares approximately 99.9 percent the same genetic "fingerprint" and as such one must conclude that we are all one race. Further (as a geneticist you should have known and pointed this out) the remaining 0.1 percent of variations in the human genome is arguably just as different between cousins as it is between "races". It is high time that scientists speak out and end the silly conception that races are "different" or even exist. Science has proven the fallacy of racial differences (outside petty appearance such as skin tone) and in my opinion discussions such as this only fuel the myths of our ignorant past. You should educate the public about the truth of the issue rather than solicit debate.
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Anon Posted 28/07/2004 10:05
London Many people of all colours do think they belong to a race or at least an ethnic group. Whether Bill likes it or not, a debate about the meaning of race is inevitable, at least until we have all intermarried and become a uniform shade of beige. Bill urges that retaining any concept of race is ignorant nonsense, but he is assuming race is purely a matter of genetics. But race has never been purely a matter of genetics and never will be. First and foremost, it is a sense of identity, a sense of the group we belong to and the history we share as that group. Skin tone, general appearance, family background and our group’s identity all go into that pot that creates our own sense of identity. Now, as Bill points out (and indeed as the topic discusses in some depth), geneticists have shown that “race“ cannot be verified genetically. There is no such thing as a Black African gene, a White European gene or a Yellow Chinese gene. To be sure, there is often genetic similarities between sub-sets of many ethnic communities but these genetic links cannot be correlated with skin colour or any other traditional racial “markers”. Genetic analysis can trace your ancestors back to Africa—sometimes—but that doesn’t determine whether you are black or not (as Mark Shriver demonstrates). Yet many people consider themselves to be “Black” and that belief cannot be swept under the carpet. I am sorry Bill, but there is a real debate to be had about the meaning of race, despite the lack of support from genetics.
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riscy Posted 31/08/2004 20:20
United Kingdom I found it amazing that the human genetic managed to sustains it forms relatively unchanged for 10,000 years for which we about to destroy in matter of years due to pollution.It seem there is no association between God and Genetics.
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Smit Posted 29/05/2005 8:38
United Kingdom Has anyone concidered the possibility of owning a African lung or a Jewish liver? Skin is a small part of us.
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