Tracing Your Ancestry: Geneticist Uses DNA Technology to Provide a Bridge to the Past for People of African Descent
Gilbert, Allison, Black Enterprise
Rick Kitties confesses that the motivation for starting his company was purely selfish. "Like many African Americans, I wanted to trace my ancestry. But like so many of us, I hit a brick wall." So, the molecular biologist did something about it.
Two years ago, Kitties and his partner, Gina Paige, started Maryland-based African Ancestry. The company sells DNA-based genealogy tests, at $349 each, which can pinpoint where in Africa a client's ancestors came from.
Clients use swabs to wipe inside their cheeks and return the DNA samples via express delivery service. African Ancestry then sends the samples to Sorensen Genomics, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based laboratory that processes them to determine their DNA genotyping and sequencing. The certified and accredited lab returns the results to Kitties, who cross-references and matches that DNA sequence with his ancestry database.
In about four to six weeks, African Ancestry validates the present-day country or region that the client shares a genetic link with and, in some cases, the ethnic group or tribe. According to African Ancestry, about 85% of clients find identical matches in their lineage database. For the remainder, the company will find closely related lineages.
The key to it all is the company's comprehensive genetic African Lineage Database, a repository of molecular blueprints of African peoples created by Kittles. African Ancestry offers a MatriClan Test of maternal DNA inherited from the mother; and a PatriClan Test of paternal DNA inherited from the father, if you are male.
The database, which includes a compilation of published sources and research collaborations, comprises 11,747 paternal lineages and 13,690 maternal lineages from more than 389 distinct locations in Africa. Kittles says, "It …
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Publication information: Article title: Tracing Your Ancestry: Geneticist Uses DNA Technology to Provide a Bridge to the Past for People of African Descent. Contributors: Gilbert, Allison - Author. Magazine title: Black Enterprise. Volume: 36. Issue: 1 Publication date: August 2005. Page number: 55. © 2007 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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