The African-American DNA Roots Project is a molecular anthropology project conducted jointly by Dr. Bruce A. Jackson of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Dr. Bert Ely of the University of South Carolina. The Roots Project has both a scientific and educational component.
Our scientific goals are to match Y chromosome and mitochondria DNA lineages of African-Americans and Caribbean people of African ancestry to those found in West African tribes and ethnic groups that were the sources of slaves.
The educational goal of the Roots Project is to produce an annual corps of highly effective K-5 science teachers in Boston, MA and Columbia, SC who are trained in DNA science and committed to teaching careers. The guiding philosophy of our educational component is that forensic DNA science is an excellent tool for teaching the process of science. Recently adopted science standards encourage the teaching of the scientific process. However, K-5 teachers often have little or no training in this area. To rectify this situation we directly involve K-5 teachers and their students in the Roots Project. This project will provide a unique opportunity for K-5 teachers and their students to participate in a research effort to bridge the four-century old chasm between African-Americans and their ancestral origins in West Africa.