Roots Project

History & Highlights

The African-American Roots Project is a two-year-old ancestry project devised to use Forensic DNA Science as a tool to re-establish the link between African-Americans and their ancestral families in Western Africa.

The project was created by Dr. Bruce A. Jackson, an African-American molecular biologist at UML and creator and director of the Biotechnology Programs at Massachusetts Bay Community College (MBCC) in Wellesley, MA. Dr. Jackson created the world's first Forensic DNA Science degree granting program at MBCC which is part of the Biotechnology Program at that college. The African-American Roots Project is creating a computer databank of DNA discrete regions from African-American families as well as members of clans and tribes from six West African nations where most African-Americans are believed to emanate from: Sierra Leone, Nigeria (Northern Regions), Uganda, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and Ivory Coast. Other West African nations will be included in the future. Scientists in the project look for DNA regions (called loci) unique to people of African descent.