Native American DNA Contribution Among African Americans

 Native American DNA Contribution Among African Americans 

By Chance Kelsey,

Researchers at the University of Pittsburg Pennsylvania did DNA research to estimate how much has Native American ancestry contributed to the African American (black American) population genetically.

The researchers chosed 1,000 African Americans from ten cities (Maywood, Illinois; Detroit; New York; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Charleston, South Carolina; New Orleans; and Houston) to participate in the DNA experiment.

These ten cities are located in the eastern part of the United States of America. The result was that only four black Americans showed DNA markers that came from the Amerindian (Native American) haplogroup.
Therefore, based upon the results, The African American population has received very little genetic contribution from the Native American racial group. Now maybe in the southern states and western states the African American population might have more people who have Amerindian DNA markers in their genes.

 But at the same time, even if this was true the reality still is -– that the majority of the African Americans don’t carry a lot of Native American DNA in their genes thus meaning that the average African American has non or only a few Native American ancestors.

If you observe the phenotypes of many African Americans you can see that the majority look non Native American mixed in phenotype (physical appearance). There currently is still a tricky situation with the African American population, and that is, the one drop rule that says if you have one drop of black blood then you are black.
The mixed race people who have some black ancestry but have skin complexion that are yellow, yellowish red, yellowish brown, beige, or whitish are currently also called black (even if some of them wish to be called mixed race they are forced into blackness by society).

There is a possibility but not a guarantee that a larger percentage of this population may have more Native American ancestry. I will say this also, that among black Americans who have dark skin and caramel brown skin and even among those who have yellow, yellowish red, yellowish brown, beige, or whitish skin that the majority of these people do not possess a large amount of Native America DNA markers. This means that the Amerindian population and African American population did not mix interracially through sexual union to a significant and high degree.

You may have some African Americans who have one or two Native American ancestors. Others may have two or three but the reality is the majority of them don’t have probably even 10 or more Native American ancestors. Some of the Native American DNA markers that show up in African Americans is the result of a white ancestor who was mixed with Native American and he or she married a black person.

If you observe the Mestizo latino populations of Mexico, South& central America and the Caribbean you will notice that in their phenotypes (physical appearance) that many of them have Aztec, Mayan, Inca, and Arawak Native American Indian ancestry.    

More white Americans have Native American ancestry than the black population of America. Yes the African American population does have members who have Native American ancestry – but the number of Native Americans ancestors in their ancestry tree is not very many. Which explains why many who have Native American DNA markers don’t look similar to Native American in phenotype.

There are more African Americans mixed with white, and they look like they have white in them. Yet when you look at the African American population they don’t look even close to Native Americans in physical appearance. The reason is because they don’t have many Native American ancestors. Having 5% or 10% of some particular ancestry from another racial group is not a lot.

Genetic DNA science is progressing and unlocking doors of human biology.                  

Estimating African American admixture proportions by use of population-specific alleles.

E J Parra, A Marcini, J Akey, J Martinson, M A Batzer, R Cooper, T Forrester, D B Allison, R Deka, R E Ferrell, and M D Shriver Department of Human Genetics, Allegheny University of Health Sciences, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

We analyzed the European genetic contribution to 10 populations of African descent in the United States (Maywood, Illinois; Detroit; New York; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Baltimore; Charleston, South Carolina; New Orleans; and Houston) and in Jamaica, using nine autosomal DNA markers.

To evaluate the extent of the Amerindian contribution to the African American gene pool, we looked for the presence of the Amerindian-specific mtDNA haplogroups (A, B, C, and D). Finally, we emphasize the importance of admixed populations in mapping disease genes showing prevalence differences between ethnic groups by taking advantage of the linkage disequilibrium created when populations hybridize.

Results indicate a sex-biased gene flow from Europeans, the male contribution being substantially greater than the female contribution. mtDNA haplogroups analysis shows no evidence of a significant maternal Amerindian contribution to any of the 10 populations.


Haplogroups A, B, C, and D are Amerindian-specific haplogroups that together account for almost all Amerindian mtDNAs (Wallace and Torroni 1992) and are thus especially suitable for testing the importance of the Amerindian influence in the African American maternal line. Of the >1,000 African Americans analyzed, we detected only 4 individuals with an Amerindian haplogroup. Two individuals in Maywood, one in Baltimore, and one in Houston showed the Amerindian B haplogroup. Several other samples have the 9-bp deletion, but since it appears to be associated with the L African haplogroup and lacks the characteristic pattern observed in Amerindian B haplogroups for the diagnostic sites DdeI 10394 and AluI 10397 (–), it is most likely of African origin (Soodyall et al. 1996).

We have also tried to clarify the extent of the Amerindian contribution to the African American gene pool. There have been accounts of substantial contact among North American Indians and people of African descent in specific periods of U.S. history, especially in regions such as the Mississippi delta and Florida (Katz 1986). Some early anthropological reports have emphasized the high proportion of African American college students claiming some Amerindian ancestry (Herskovits 1930; Meier 1949).

In fact, the importance of the Amerindian contribution to the African American gene pool has been a matter of controversy since the first studies of African American admixture (Roberts 1955; Glass 1955). However, practically all admixture studies of African American populations to date have employed a dihybrid model (African/European) instead of a trihybrid model (African/European/Amerindian). We tested our African American samples for the presence of the common Amerindian-specific mtDNA haplogroups (A, B, C, and D), and detected just 4 individuals with an Amerindian haplogroup, among >1,000 African Americans. Two individuals in Maywood, Illinois, one in Baltimore, Maryland and one individual in Houston, Texas. 

 This indicates that the contribution from Amerindians has been of little importance in the 10 populations of African descent we have characterized, at least on the maternal line. 

  1. Denise Garrott

    The primary problem predates this study by the University of Pittsburgh. THe original Native American studies from which the norms and haplo groups are defined are based on a small select group of Native Americans from the northwest. THe common theory that migration came from the Bering land bridge into the Americas is incorrect though widely accepted. In fact migration into the Americas come also from the Atlantic and certainly from Africa as well as Norse. If the original Native American DNA study samples included those with south, southeast, central, and north east groups a far more accurate and reliable basis would be in place. In fact, Africans were in Central and North America long before Columbus. Until Native Americans from throughout the continent are included in the data all studies will be fundimentally flawed.

  2. Chance

    @ Denise Garrott Wrote:

    The study is not flawed, the Native American DNA markers overlap with central Asian meaning the are some genetic similarities between central Asians and Native Americans. All Native American tribes have their DNA in the data bases of geneticists, as well as all African tribes. The reason that 996 of the African American participants did not have Native American DNA markers in their genes is because they have no recent Native American ancestors. The DNA test would have detected the Native American DNA markers regardless of what Native American tribe the markers come from. Native American DNA markers are Native American DNA markers regardless of the Native American tribe. Just like when they test for black African DNA markers if you have black DNA markers it will be detected regardless of the African tribe.

    You lack knowledge.

  3. VW

    Rock it, Chancellor!!! 😆

  4. Chance

    @ VW,

    Thanks VM!!

  5. cee

    Autosomal results are much different

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