Wishing to share the vibranium 😉 I have created a new page featuring the DNA matches reported by 23andme for 75 Africans, all across the continent. These results were collected by me in 2015 when 23andme’s Countries of Ancestry (CoA) tool was still available.
My survey results might have limitations in several regards but I do believe these African CoA results can still reveal relevant tendencies in DNA matching. I intend to compare these preliminary matching patterns eventually with my more recent findings for Africans who tested on Ancestry. I provide detailed background info as well as screenshots of the individual results on this page:
(click to enlarge)
Below I will provide an overview of the main findings I am able to pick up on from my survey results. This overview is just part of an exploratory exercise and not meant to be conclusive. Obviously my methodology & considerations I discuss in greater detaill on this page should also be kept in mind!
- The largest degree of match strength is being obtained for West Africa, both Upper & Lower Guinea. This goes first of all for matches with the USA but also for matches with Latino’s and Caribbeans. A lesser and more variable degree of match strength (but still clearly detectable) is reported for Central & Southern Africa. While hardly any Afro-Diasporan matches were reported for my East African survey participants. This outcome seems to align well with both historically documented and genetically confirmed origins for the Trans-Atlantic Afro-Diaspora. These ancestral origins being principally from West Africa & Central Africa and to a much smaller degree also from Southeast Africa. For more details see:
- The number of 10cM+ matches was rather high. And mostly confirming the matching patterns when set at 7cM. Perhaps tellingly not a single match of 10cM+ was reported for my East African survey participants. At least no matches with Afro-Diasporans. The least number of matches of any size and from anywhere was being reported for my survey participants from South Sudan (0x) and Uganda (1x).
- In regards to the match strength with the USA the three top ranking countries are Guinea (Fula), Madagascar and Nigeria (Igbo). Especially one Fula person from Guinea as well as two Malagasy survey participants received an amazing number of USA matches. Often also with a large shared segment size. Their minor European admixture might be a factor (see considerations). But I suspect not decisively so as the shared segments I was able to verify myself were either African or Asian in chromosome view. For the Fula person it may also very well just represent mislabeled North African DNA. My Igbo survey participants also received many USA matches, strikingly more so than Nigerians of other ethnic background in my survey.
- Even if caution is warranted, this outcome seems to already indicate widespread dispersal of Fula, Malagasy and Igbo lineage within the African American genepool. Which would be perfectly plausible also from a historical perspective. However I strongly suspect that the frequency of DNA matches from a certain place/ethnic group may not always correlate with autosomal contribution, proportionally speaking. In other words just because my Fula and Malagasy survey participants seem to be extra “matchy” with African Americans does not right away imply that the Fula & the Malagasy represent the biggest ancestral components for African Americans (to be verified by admixture analysis). For the Igbo such a case could arguably already be made. Based on both historical and genetic evidence. But especially for the Malagasy a more subdued & diluted overall ancestral share is to be expected (even if still significant and clearly detectable). Certainly lower than for example the Congolese or Angolan input in the average African breakdown for African Americans. See also:
- African American AncestryDNA results (TAR)
- Origins of African Americans according to historical sources (TAR)
- The Igbo Connection for Virginia & Virginia-Descendants (TAR)
- The DNA Trail from Madagascar to Manhattan (Part 2, Part 3) (Radiant Roots & Boricua Branches)
- Intra-African matches were reported quite frequently for most of my African survey participants. Even when the number of Africans in CoA’s database must have been very small in 2015! This includes matches from the same African country, matches from neighbouring African countries and in a few cases matches from unexpected countries in other parts of Africa, geographically far removed. When set at 5cM these presumably population matches become even more apparent. This outcome may hold some far-reaching implications. Afterall if a Kenyan is able to get a Zimbabwean match seemingly due to the genetic legacy of the Bantu Expansion from many centuries or even several millennia ago might then also likewise African Americans receive Kenyan matches due to shared Bantu origins from Central Africa (Angola/Congo)? In a recently published research paper it was revealed that Angolans were having IBD matches with people from South Africa and also from Kenya/Uganda!
- A few of the matches seem to suggest ancestral connections due to the Indian Ocean Slave Trade. In particular one 7cM+ match from Bahrein being reported for one of my Congolese (DRC) survey participants. When applying the lowest threshold of 5cM also a few matches from places such as Iran, Turkey and India appeared. As expected this occurred only for my Central/Southern & East African survey participants. I did not come across any matches from North Africa, possibly suggestive of Trans-Saharan Slave Trade. See also:
- The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World (NY Public Library)
- Echoes of the East-African Slave Trade – Distant Diasporic Matches – IBS or IBD? (Anthrogenica)