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DNA Testing Reveals Brasilian Identity


The BBC carried out DNA testing on a handful of famous Brasilians to find out more about the country’s roots. A BBC project that conducted the DNA testing to find out the ancestry of nine celebrity Brasilians uncovered some interesting facts. Brasil has roots in Africa, and one of the country’s leading singers, Neguinho da Beija-Flor's prides himself on his African ancestry. DNA testing revealed that the majority of his genes however European with just 31% African.

DNA Testing Determines Ancestry

DNA testing is increasingly popular as a way of determining your ancestral genetic make-up. But it can also have far reaching consequences for people who base their identities on their roots. It can for example impact on racists who pride themselves on their white roots – DNA testing generally shows ancestral make-up to be a ‘racial democracy’.

DNA Testing for Afro-Brasilian Project

The BBC Brasilian Service did conduct the DNA testing as part of an Afro-Brasilian Roots project. The DNA test simply involves a swab of saliva. The DNA sequences were then compared to a gene database to determine a rough percentage of ancestral make-up. The Paternal line is analysed through the Y chromosome and the maternal line through mtDNA.

In history race has always been used in a destructive way. Whether it is the genocide of Hitler based on white supremacy, or the racial discrimination against blacks. In Brasil, black people are at a disadvantage in society although there are more blacks there than in any other nation outside of Africa.  DNA testing  did however show that skin colour is not always a true indicator of ancestry or race.

Genes Not Skin Colour

Scientists say that it is just a very small handful of genes that dictate the colour of our skin, and those genes are not a true indicator of racial ancestry. So DNA testing can therefore show that a white person for instance can have more African genes than a black person. The Portuguese, French, Irish and other European immigrants throughout history went to Brasil in search of a new home, so many black Brasilians have strong European genetic make-up as well as African.

DNA Testing and Racism

However there are still some people who are cynical about the fact that DNA testing can blow away myths about race and colour. Some people still believe that there will always be discrimination on skin colour regardless of what DNA tests reveal about genetic make-up.

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