Family trees find their roots

Photos by Cameron McPhail/Staff Photographer
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The Fluker family used African Ancestry to trace their DNA lineage.

Emma Owen 
Blazer News Reporter

What does Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice and Morgan Freeman. have in common? Each traced their lineage through African Ancestry, a company that has helped over 500,000 individuals discover their roots. On Monday, Feb. 18, students filled the Hill Student Center ballrooms as the Black Student Awareness Committee hosted “Finding Your Wakanda: Family Trees, Tribes, and Genetics.” 

This event featured how to use African Ancestry and unveiled student, Kayla Phillip’s African Ancestry results. 

Gina Paige, Ph.D., co-founder of African Ancestry said she created her test kits to give black people the ability to trace their lineage. 

“Our ancestors are the original victims of identity theft,” Paige said. “We lost our names, our language and with that, the ability to honor our ancestors.” 

By creating this DNA testing opportunity, Paige said individuals can find their identity by accurately tracing their lineage back to their African roots.

“If you don’t know your name, language and family, then how can you know who you are,” Paige said. “[Tracing your lineage] is the best investment you can make in yourself.” 

Since 2003, Paige said that her team has been collecting both maternal and paternal DNA and comparing it to over 33,000 African DNA samples from over 40 countries. 

 “[Our team] looks at your variations in your DNA and compares it to our database,” Paige said. 

When comparing African Ancestry to other DNA testing companies, Paige said African Ancestry has over double the number of DNA samples and refuses to sell your DNA. Perks that other DNA testing companies cannot offer said Paige. 

“We destroy your DNA after it is tested,” Paige said. “In seventeen years, we have never [sold DNA] and we will never sell it in the future.”  

After Paige explained how African Ancestry uses DNA to trace lineage, she revealed the DNA results of student, Kayla Phillips. Phillips said she entered and won an essay writing contest and was chosen for this unveiling.  

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Gina Paige is the co-founder of African Ancestry and visited campus on Monday, February 18.

“This was life-changing,” Phillips said. “I finally have information [about my heritage] that I didn’t have before.”  

Phillips said she was happy to have these results and was ready to learn more about her cultural heritage. 

“I am excited to do research and learn more about my ancestors,” Phillips said. 

Stacey Fluker and her family spoke of their personal experience of using African Ancestry.  

“Going into this, [my family] had few expectations,” Fluker said. “My family wanted to see where we came from.” 

Fluker said her experience using African Ancestry was a positive one and allowed her to feel connected to her ancestors.  

“[My family] found clarity on where we came from,” Fluker said. “Simple things like the kind of food we liked made sense based on our DNA results and where our ancestors are from.” Morgan Richardson, sophomore in political science, said she enjoyed the presentation and gained interest in tracing her lineage.  

“After seeing this presentation, I really want to buy the [African Ancestry] test kit and find my results” Richardson said. 

As a special perk for this month only, in honor of Black History Month, African Ancestry is running a limited time discount for test kits. By using promo code, BHM2019, you will receive $30 off your purchase of the African Ancestry test kit.

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