Cynthia's Interests

The world as it unfolds - told from an African American woman's perspective...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Oprah's roots Winfrey's DNA points with pride to Zulu tribe

Coming to the next episode of the gift-tastic Oprah's Favorite Things: Genetic testing for you!

TV talk-show host/arbiter of style/granter of fondest wishes Oprah Winfrey recently told an African audience that DNA tests determined that at least some of her ancestors were members of a famed South African tribe, the New York Post reports."I always wondered what it would be like if it turned out I am a South African, (because) I feel so at home here," she told a group of 3,200 fans at her Live Your Best Life seminar in Johannesburg. "Do you know that I actually am one? I went in search of my roots and had my DNA tested, and I am a Zulu."

I had my mitochondria DNA tested by African Ancestry. Your mitochondria DNA is passed to every offspring from the mother unchanged so you should be able to trace it back to a single group in Africa. Instead, when I got my results it said that I was closely related to the Kru people in Liberia and the Mende people in Sierra Leone. I was excited when I got the news. But after I calmed down, I said this is bogus, the mitochondria DNA should have only lead to one person/group. There are some reasons that could account for this, but I won't bore you with the details. I still think I need to ask Rick for my money back or when his database is updated, he needs to reanalyze my DNA for free because there is another group out there that I'm more closely related to. The only reason I haven’t contacted him was because I was thinking about doing a post doc in his lab. But now I've changed my mind about the post doc, because my goals have changed. I'm patiently waiting for the next time Rick comes to town and I will discuss this matter with him. In spite of this, I still think it is a great idea to know where you are from at least some of your ancestors and DNA testing is a great way to find this information out.

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