Tag: Gina Paige

FEATURE: African Ancestry Co-Founder and University of Arizona Professor Rick Kittles Breaks New Ground in Genetics

Rick Kittles
UA researcher Rick Kittles is a national leader on health disparities and the role of genes and environment in disease. (Photo: Bob Demers/UANews)

article by Nick Prevenas via uanews.arizona.edu

Ever since he can remember, Rick Kittles always wanted to know where he came from.

Born in Sylvania, Georgia, and raised near Long Island, New York, a great deal of his academic interest was sparked by the desire to trace his ancestral lineage as far back as it could go. This proved to be exceedingly difficult, for a number of reasons.

“There simply wasn’t a strong database in place or any kind of access to information on African genetics,” Kittles said. “Records were either inaccurate or nonexistent, so there were a number of hurdles in place for African-Americans to try to figure out their ancestry.”

An aptitude for biology, coupled with a deep exploration of Alex Haley’s novel, “Roots,” led Kittles on a path that eventually would help thousands of people like him clear these hurdles. He is the director of the Division of Population Genetics at the University of Arizona, which he joined in July 2014.

Developing and implementing a comprehensive African genealogy database seemed daunting at first, but during his graduate studies at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and, later, though his work at Howard University’s College of Medicine in the late 1990s, Kittles met the historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and fellow geneticists who could help turn this dream into a reality.

“I was looking at my own DNA profile, analyzing my Y-chromosome lineage, and I noticed my Nigerian lineage didn’t track with the other Y-chromosome samples from West Africa,” Kittles said.

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SiriusXM Launches ‘African Ancestry Radio’ with Actor Louis Gossett Jr. As Guest

louis gossett jr.

NEW YORK –– SiriusXM announced the launch of “African Ancestry Radio,” a three-week series of live, call-in shows during which the hosts help listeners and celebrities of African descent in their quest to reconnect with their heritage.

Hosted by Gina Paige, co-founder of African Ancestry, and award-winning producer Shirley Neal, “African Ancestry Radio” launched live on Sunday, February 8 at 12:00 pm ET on SiriusXM Urban View channel 126 with Louis Gossett Jr. and Aunjanue Ellis as their first celebrity guests.  EURweb.com’s founder Lee Bailey also joins in each week as special entertainment correspondent.

Scheduled in celebration of Black History Month, the hosts lead conversations on ancestry and heritage and guide SiriusXM listeners who are looking to more accurately and reliably trace their African roots. Themed around music, the February 15 show will feature Grammy award-winners and alternative hip hop group Arrested Development.

In addition, “African Ancestry Radio” will feature discussions on how a person’s roots influence personality, who they are and how they act.  Each show will include at least one celebrity guest who has previously taken the tests and whose African ancestry will be revealed during the broadcast.

“‘African Ancestry Radio’ promises to be enlightening, empowering, and inspirational for SiriusXM listeners across the country,” said Dave Gorab, Vice President and General Manager, Talk Programming, SiriusXM. “We are pleased to present this exclusive series as part of our special programming commemorating Black History Month.”

After the broadcast, “African Ancestry Radio” will be available on SiriusXM On Demand for subscribers listening via the SiriusXM Internet Radio App for smartphones and other mobile devices or online at siriusxm.com.  Visit www.siriusxm.com/ondemand for more information.

Gina Paige is co-founder of African Ancestry, Inc., pioneering a new way of tracing African lineage using genetics.  Paige resides in Washington, D.C. and holds a degree in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

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