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Rediscovering Roots: Exploring Arab American Genealogy and Heritage

posted on: Oct 4, 2023

Rediscovering Roots: Exploring Arab American Genealogy and Heritage

Photo Credits: AAA

By: Joanna Sawtari / Arab America Contributing Writer


Genealogy is the history of your family. It’s how the lines of your ancestors and their descendants are traced. Genealogists essentially extract the DNA from a tube and measure specific positions within the whole set of genetic instructions, often referred to as the human genome, using a small rectangular chip called a microarray. This tool can measure millions of different locations within the genome at the same time.

The Arab Take

The growing fascination with genealogy and the desire to unravel one’s ethnic background has captivated countless Americans. As an answer to this curiosity, 23andMe and similar DNA testing kits have emerged, offering individuals a simple and accessible means of exploring their ancestral roots. The results have been eye-opening, with many individuals discovering their ethnicities to be woven with Arab American heritage. These revelations have sparked a sense of connection and belonging, as individuals delve into their rich cultural tapestry and uncover the stories of their ancestors. With the power of genetic exploration at their fingertips, Americans are embracing the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their heritage and celebrate the diverse threads that contribute to their unique identity.

The Process

Rediscovering Roots: Exploring Arab American Genealogy and Heritage

Home Kit / Photo Credits: 23andMe

With its groundbreaking technology, 23andMe has revolutionized the world of DNA testing, making it effortlessly accessible and user-friendly for individuals all over the world. This four-step process begins by inviting customers to register their unique profile, ensuring a personalized experience. Next, a compact saliva collection kit is provided, empowering users to conveniently provide a sample of their genetic material. Once the sample is securely sealed and sent back through the mail, customers can track their package’s journey, awaiting their results. Through this seamless and engaging process, 23andMe has successfully democratized genetic exploration, empowering individuals to unlock the secrets of their ancestry and health with ease.

The Result

Rediscovering Roots: Exploring Arab American Genealogy and Heritage

Results / Photo Credits: Reddit

Results typically appear with a specific breakdown of your heritage in percentages. The 47 Ancestry Composition regional populations are organized in a hierarchy, which reflects the genetic structure of global populations. For example, “British & Irish” is a part of “Northwestern European”, which is part of “European”. This breakdown makes results detailed and allows customers to narrow them down. 

Why This is Important for Arab-Americans

23andMe testing offers significant benefits for Arabs, providing them with valuable insights into their genetic heritage and health. 23andMe’s extensive database includes a wide range of genetic markers, allowing the exploration of lineage.

23andMe’s health reports offer a comprehensive analysis of genetic predispositions to various diseases, empowering Arabs to make informed decisions about their well-being. By identifying potential risks, individuals can take proactive measures to prevent or manage specific health conditions, leading to more personalized healthcare and improved overall wellness.

Their DNA Relatives feature enables Arabs to connect with distant relatives across the globe, fostering a sense of community and kinship. This feature can be especially impactful for individuals with limited knowledge about their extended family or those who have been separated by geographical or historical circumstances.

Testing has been a great way to provide Arabs with an opportunity to explore their genetic heritage, gain insights into their health, and connect with a wider community, ultimately contributing to appreciation of their identity. 

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