Mitochondrial DNA Revealing Unexpected Ancestral Connections

According to the study it explaining that the mitochondrial DNA revealing unexpected ancestral connections; This genetic material is finding inside mitochondria; the sub-cellular compartments or organelles where food is converted into energy. DNA from this organelle is passed down primarily from mothers to their children. During fertilisation, the father’s sperm transfers his chromosomal DNA into the female egg; leaving the mitochondria behind. If any of the male-mitochondria are transferring into the egg, it is usually destroying by internal processes.

However, recently published work has shown that in a small number of cases; mitochondria from the father got into the egg, was not destroying and was passing on to the children. In most cases though, sons do not pass along mtDNA to their children. Every mother, however, transfers her mtDNA to her daughter who will in turn, transfer it to her daughter and so on throughout the ages. Because mtDNA does not change much over time, maternal lineage information from thousands of years ago becomes accessible today.

Mitochondrial DNA revealing

As mtDNA was assigning to the M2 haplogroup; a group whose origins are describing as not native to Africa yet common to Cape Malay or Cape Muslims who have their origins outside the continent. “Coloured” is a racial classification introducing by the apartheid era Population Registration Act to refer to a multiracial ethnic group native to South Africa with Khoi-San; Bantu, Afrikaner, English, Indian and South Asian ancestry.

The colonial economy could not function without the use of slave labor, meaning slave ownership was widespread. There are records of inter-marriage between the KhoiKhoi and San populations with colonial slave populations, as well as with African farmers and white settlers.Add to this the unrecorded and involuntary unions between especially the masters and their slaves.

The mtDNA sequencing

But as a country we focus on apartheid as the origin of all our ills, while our slavery heritage is largely forgotting. Now, as my experience shows, developments in mtDNA sequencing are returning it to view. This is important because South African identity is more complex than just black and white; and slavery shaping the society in ways that should not be ignoring. But my siblings mitochondrial DNA sequencing results were assigning to the same haplogroup; and analyses done at three different laboratories two national and one international reaching the same conclusions.

Without the technology to sequence mitochondrial DNA, I would not know of my ancestral links to slavery. Artificial intelligence is making sequencing faster, cheaper and more accurate while machine learning algorithms; that improve with experience are accelerating our ability to compare large, complex DNA sequencing data sets and interpreting its meaning.