Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Does everyone living today have African DNA?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42477points) February 21st, 2015

According to everything I’ve ever read they should. Just as everyone carries Neanderthal genes.

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67 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

MIlo here; Just my black parts.The snowy areas are Norwegian.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So I take it you have no opinion on this?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Not everyone has neanderthal or sub Saharan genes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah, I kind of wondered that too @ARE_you_kidding_me. Europeans probably do, though. Especially those from France.

But what say you on African genes?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’ve been tested, 3.2% neanderthal. 0% sub Saharan African. I really kind of depends how far you go back though, We are all from Africa just not very recently. Go back far enough and we are all from the ocean.

Coloma's avatar

Doesn’t everyone if the origin of man was in Africa?
Mine are extremely diluted now seeing how I was a near albino as little girl, white blonde hair, blue eyes, very fair skinned. Stayed blonde and fair my whole life. My ancestory is Scottish, Welsh and German.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, we’re talking 125,000 years ago. Lot of diluting going on since then.

Dutchess_III's avatar

German? Most likely have Neanderthal, @Coloma

ragingloli's avatar

Science really was not kind to racists and white supremacists.
Not only did science reveal that all humans came from Africa, no, it also revealed that those of European descent have Neanderthal DNA in them, so there goes the theme of “racial purity”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! Right on!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@ragingloli That was my take, kinda throws the racial purity thing into the wind. Appears like the African population is more pure. Now they are actually using the neanderthal thing to say that this makes them superior somehow. Pssst.

Darth_Algar's avatar

“Does everyone living today have African DNA?”

Yes.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III is likely asking this because I had my DNA done and it showed 3% African. My father was Castilian and that’s likely where the African came in (if you google “Iberian Peninsula DNA” you’ll see what I’m talking about. What I said to @Dutchess_III was that, if everyone had this (which, we’re all descended from Lucy but that was many moons ago), the DNA test would have put out a statement that everyone has African DNA.

The DNA test also said they could tell if people taking it are related to Neanderthals or Denisovans. I had never heard of Denisovans, but if you google it, Denisovans were an early species of man from the Denisova cave in Russia. I thought we were all related to Neanderthals but apparently not.

I’m not saying we’re not all descended from Lucy, as I believe science and evidence has proven that we are. My dispute with @Dutchess_III (which was on FB) was that I think that I don’t think being descended from Lucy would show up on a DNA test (as another Jelly pointed out on the FB post) and also, I think 3% is a bit much to have been passed down from Lucy in my genes. Another woman I know had DNA done by the same place I had mine done, and she posted her results, and had no percentage of DNA from Africa, which backs up my theories above.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Science makes no claim that we are descended from “Lucy”. “Lucy” is simply the fossilized remains of one individual of the species Australopithecus afarensis. A. afarensis may be a direct ancestor of the Homo genus (and thus of Homo sapiens) or may have simply been a distant relative. There is, as yet, no way to know for certain. Also, as “Lucy” is a 3,000,000 year-old fossil the likelihood of ever being able to extract testable DNA from her is remote (essentially impossible barring some new breakthrough in our understanding of fossilized remains and DNA testing).

gorillapaws's avatar

Human DNA IS African DNA.

jaytkay's avatar

Is ancestry DNA testing reliable?

It seems straightforward but the “as seen on TV!” aspect makes me skeptical.

flutherother's avatar

African DNA and some fish DNA.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Unless you came from outer space, you’ll have DNA from the African Continent.

Most DNA tests like Ancestry dot Com limit the number of years to ten generations ago.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jca, No. I asked this question because you said that a friend of yours did the testing and had 0 African DNA. I said, I didn’t think it was possible, and you got a little upset. I guess you thought I was trying to start an argument.

Can’t figure out where Lucy came in. If it was mentioned on that thread, I didn’t see it. She was a Australopithecus who lived over 3 million years ago. We’re talking about modern Homo Sapiens, who evolved in Africa in to the form we have now, and started spreading out only 125,000 years ago or so.

125,000 years is drop in the bucket, and that is why everyone carries the gene for the original humans.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They wouldn’t put out a statement that “everyone has African DNA,” but they should. I’ve seen more than one person kind of shocked that it was there.

osoraro's avatar

I’m not sure what the data show on this.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: If I have 3%, that is more than would be from an ancestor from tens of thousands of years ago.

If everyone had African DNA, then my friend who did the test would, also.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Did you see your friend’s actual data? Or is that just what she told you? I think it was FilmFann who shared his results on FB. When it got to 3% African he said, ”(??????.)” If people don’t understand where we actually evolved, they may assume it came from the slavery days. It could be that your friend was “embarrassed,” like she thought that something happened to her family from those times. If it had, the percentage would be MUCH higher than 3%. Hell, that was only 150 years ago!

3% out of 100 isn’t much. It’s about average (from what I’ve seen) for Europeans.

@osoraro, go do your homework! Or tell your daughter to. We’d trust her work more than yours. :D

Dutchess_III's avatar

If a “white” person has African DNA from the slavery days, I’m guessing it would be closer to 25%.

jca's avatar

If my DNA is 50% from my mom and 50% from my dad, then 25% is from my maternal grandmother, 25% is from my maternal grandfather, 25% is from my paternal grandmother and 25% is from my paternal grandfather. 3% is not going to be from the beginning of humans. 3% is relatively recent. I’m telling you, if you google Iberian Peninsula DNA, you’ll see where I get my 3% African from.

I’m sure there are DNA experts that can better explain what’s what.

Yes, my friend who did it posted her results. I actually photographed mine but she posted the link for hers. She had no African.

Brian1946's avatar

@jca

If we assume about 25 years per generation, then one of your great great great grandparents could have contributed 3 1/8 % about 125 years before your birth.

Brian1946's avatar

Correction:

I think that would have been a great x 4 grandparent, contributing 3 1/8%, about 100 years before your birth.

ragingloli's avatar

why not just use parent² to denote grandparents

Brian1946's avatar

Second correction:

…great great great grandparent….

ragingloli's avatar

or parents^5

jca's avatar

@Brian1946: Right. @Dutchess_III seems to be saying everyone on earth should have this because we are all originally from Africa.

Darth_Algar's avatar

As far as recent (relatively speaking) ancestry goes, no, you’re not likely to have recent African ancestry. Regardless, humankind originated in Africa, so yes, somewhere in your genetic code there are those elements. If there were not then you would not be human.

jca's avatar

@Darth_Algar: Right, so I’m thinking probably somewhere around the 1500’s or 1600’s, some African was in Spain, mated with one of my ancestors and there’s where my 3% comes from.

Whatever, at this point, really. I know who my mother is and I know who my father is, and the conversation about the minor amounts of African or Asian is just semantics at this point.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, I am saying everyone on earth has African DNA, and everyone one here agrees, including @Darth_Algar. ”...somewhere in your genetic code there are those elements. If there were not then you would not be human.” It shows in your 3%.

jaytkay's avatar

Yes, I am saying everyone on earth has African DNA

True.

It shows in your 3%

Not true.

Not everyone has African DNA in recent generations. As @Brian1946 noted above, 3% would one great-great-great-grand parent (of your 32 great-great-great-grand parents).

My two identified great-great-great-grand parents were born around 1810.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Is it possible to not show any African DNA?

ragingloli's avatar

Sure, if you are an alien, like me.

jaytkay's avatar

Is it possible to not show any African DNA?

Yes, it is possible to show no DNA from ethnic Africans in your recent family tree.

Like this picture.

100% European.
More specifically
European Coastal Islands 39%
Northlands 30%
Trans-Ural Peneplain 25%
North Mediterranean Basin 7%

I got the picture from this interesting blog post by a PhD candidate. Her thesis is “The New Genetics and the Search for African Identity” and the post compares her results from different testing companies.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: @jaytkay is saying what I’ve been trying to say. It’s too large of an amount to be from the dawn of humans.

Whatever, really at this point. My head is spinning with the relentlessness of this and the FB thread.

Dutchess_III's avatar

….the Africans who walked out of Africa 125,000 years ago did not represent the “dawn” of humans.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But you may be right, @jca. I watch that “Finding your roots,” that comes on PBS whenever I can, and every one tested has had at least 3% African DNA. That’s not a valid study on which to base my understanding on, though, I know.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So, is @jca correct, that 3% would indicate intermingling with the past few hundred years?

I really want to do the testing. I was at a family reunion, in Texas, about 20 years ago, and they had pictures of old family members who were deceased. There was a picture of some great, great aunt, and I blurted out, “Wow! She looks black!”
The room went dead silent. :/

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know if all humans came from Africa, not did I ever even think about the idea that the DNA tests only test back a certain amount if generations. I realize from this discussion I never really considered how the statistics are put together.

I do know the Many Sephardic Jews migrated from Northeast Africa and the Middle East to the Iberian peninsula. Back 500 years ago many Jews in Spain converted to Catholicism, basically to save their lives. I would assume not only Jews went from Africa to the Iberian peninsula, but also other other groups of people.

I have heard those tests aren’t completely reliable, I really don’t know. It would be interesting to do. I don’t think I would be surprised with what would show up either way. If I came up all European, or mostly European and some Africa and Middle East. I don’t know if they look for some sort of genetic Jewish markers? I think of myself as 85–90% Eastern European and 10–15% Western European and 100% Jewish. If I learned I wasn’t 100% Jewish lines that would be a little weird for me I guess.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wish I understood it better. According to this all people with blue eyes go back to a common female ancestor who lived 6,000 to 10,00 years ago. I mean, why can’t they go further back than that? (I’m related to Brad Pitt!!!!)

JLeslie's avatar

I guess I would find it more interesting to know more recent lineage. Like the last 6–10 generations.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

What’s so hard to understand here? There are traceable mutations and specific genes that put people in certain populations at different points in time. The cut off lines are arbitrary but in general most testing services will trace your genes back to where modern ethnic groups are well defined. To go back further is somewhat meaningless because we all come from a handfull of individuals in Africa, the Genetic Adam and the mitochondrial Eve. Probably ~200,000 years ago. An interesting read is the seven daughters of eve

Testing for genes is accurate but the interpretation of the genes, where exactly they come from and how they work is not that well defined. There is quite a bit to learn there and we know relatively little. All of this is very new to science.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That would be an interesting book to read. Thanks @ARE_you_kidding_me.

It’s not hard to understand. But the method by which they trace it is over my head.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Autosomal DNA seems to be harder to trace but Y (male) DNA and mitochondrial DNA are like road maps of where populations came from.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So everyone WILL show African genes but you’d have to go really far back for some, and the tests they do through Ancestry.com, etc. don’t go that far back.

Darth_Algar's avatar

It may help to state what exactly a person means by DNA testing, as DNA testing can mean a wide range of things. If you want to find out your parentage, that’s DNA testing. Another form of DNA testing involves haplogroups. This type of testing is useful for a broad overview of human migrations, but it won’t tell you who your specific ancestors were or where, exactly, they lived. Those are two examples of the wide array of uses for DNA testing.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III “So everyone WILL show African genes but you’d have to go really far back for some, and the tests they do through Ancestry.com, etc. don’t go that far back.”

@Tropical_Willie said this way up here.

I have no idea whether all these ancestry sites use the same methods, or how far each of them go back, or even how they limit the number of generations they’re examining. I would have thought that any examination of the genome would reveal whatever genes are present, and that the hard part is associating specific genes with specific regions. To my mind, this kind of assessment is probably very polluted by poor probability estimates, and would depend on known pedigrees for specific families (relatively speaking, there can’t be too many of these available). I think the best use for these DNA tests is to find out how related a specific group of people are to each other. But reliability in terms of coming up with a specific region of origin based on the genome has to be kind of weak.

We do know that Africa was the region of origin for our entire species. Should we be able to see that in our genome? Maybe. But in the many generations of reproduction since Homo sapiens became a thing, could we not also have replaced every single gene in the genome several times over? That is the first question that comes to mind when I read your original question, @Dutchess_III, and my personal knowledge of this subject doesn’t allow me to answer it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Those are some good points, although I would think that if we replaced every single gene we would no longer be homo sapiens.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III Well, no… that’s not what I mean. You have a specific gene for eye colour, I have a different gene for eye colour. They are both the same gene, functionally, but we both carry different versions of it. That’s the kind of replacement I meant. The replacement of alleles. Different versions of the gene.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I see. Thanks.

This always kind of blows me away…. “Initial genetic studies characterised the DNA of chimpanzees and bonobos as being as much as 98% (99.4% in one study) identical to that of Homo sapiens.[18] Later studies showed that chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related to humans than to gorillas.”

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, people make a lot of that. But you have to remember, we also share 60% of our DNA with a fruit fly.

ragingloli's avatar

and 60% with bananas

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ragingloli Yeah, it’s in the same ballpark (maybe 50–55%). It makes the search for a recent common human ancestor kind of uninteresting. Every living thing is related to every other living thing, if you go back far enough.

gailcalled's avatar

^^ Every living thing is related to every other living thing, if you go back far enough.

Milo here; OMG. That includes my servant and those creatures in my snack bar as well?

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yes Milo, there is a mouse-Gail common ancestor. :)

ragingloli's avatar

Technically, all sex is incest. Even with a banana.
if mating with a sibling is immoral, because incest, and mating with a cousin is less immoral because the incest is not as clear cut because they are not as closely related, should not mating with a member of another species be the least immoral?

psepulve7777's avatar

I took the DNA exam I have no African Ancestry, and no Neanderthal none, zero, which means the out of Africa theories are not valid, also everyone should love everyonee and embrace our uniqueness

ragingloli's avatar

@psepulve7777
No, it means you are not human.

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