At the beginning of the year, I donated my DNA samples to the National Geographic Genographic Project to learn more about my ancestry and the results are in…
According to my National Geographic report, civilization’s story begins in Africa sometime between 150,000 and 170,000 years ago, with a woman whom anthropologists have nicknamed “Mitochondrial Eve.” My DNA results identify me as belonging to a specific branch of the human family tree called haplogroup L3, speifically subclade L3e1a.
The most recent common ancestor of everybody in haplogroup L3, is a woman who lived around 80,000 years ago. Individuals from L3 are found all over Africa, including the southern reaches of the sub-Saharan region. My L3 ancestors were significant because they are the first modern humans to have left Africa (the travel bug is ingrained in my DNA!!), representing the deepest branches of the tree found outside of that continent.
I decided to do a bit more digging and found some additional details on my haplogroup and subclade:
- L3e – West-Central Africa. It is the most common L3 sub-clade in Bantu-speaking populations. L3e is suggested to be associated with a Central African origin and is also the most common L3 subclade amongst African Americans, Afro-Brazilians and Caribbeans.
- L3e1 – Central Africa origin and is found in Algeria, Cameroon, Angola, Mozambique, Sudanese and Kikuyu from Kenya as well as in Yemen.
Clearly, my ancestors are from Africa; we all knew that going in. Though exact locations of origin are unknown, I’m happy to have completed this process and learned a bit about the human journey and potential origins of my maternal ancestry. South Africa is the only place in Africa I’ve visited to date, but I can’t wait to return to explore more of my ancestors homeland!
Do you know your haplogroup and where you ancestors are from?