Evolutionary perspectives on African North American genetic diversity origins and prospects for future investigations

Event Date: 

Friday, April 23, 2021 - 1:00pm to 2:00pm
African-descended peoples of the Americas
represent an amalgamation of West, Central, and Southeast
African regional and ethnic groups with modest gene flow from
specific non-African populations. Despite 16+ generations of
residence in the Americas, there is a deficit of evolutionary
knowledge about these populations. Focusing on Legacy African
Americans, the African North American descendants of survivors of the trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved
Africans, we report on emic evolutionary perspectives of their self-identity gleaned from our interviews
of 600 individuals collected over two years. Gullah-Geechee peoples of Carolina Coastal regions are
a model case study due to their historical antiquity, substantial African retentions, relative geospatial
isolation, and proposed progenitor status to other Legacy African American microethnic groups. We
identify salient research questions for future studies that will begin to bridge the evolutionary gaps in
our knowledge of these diverse peoples and the historical evidence for specific evolutionary processes