American blacks searching for their African roots are finding it’s not so easy. In the January 27th edition of the New York Times, Edward Rothstein says, "The astounding thing about American slavery is not that it existed–the enslavement of one people by another may be one of history’s universals–but that it persisted. It lasted into an era when its absence could be imagined and its presence could become an outrage."

Now researchers studying African-American DNA samples say they have evidence of natural selection as their ancestors adapted to the harsh conditions of their new environment in America. For instance, certain disease-causing genes became more common in African-Americans after their ancestors reached American shores–perhaps because they gave them benefits that were greater than the problems they caused. It’s one reason why blacks are still more vulnerable to certain diseases today.

But geneticists don’t’ all agree about this. In the January 3rd edition of the New York Times, Nicholas Wade quotes geneticist Li Jin as saying, "Most of the genes associated with African-American ethnic diseases may have played an important role in African-Americans’ adaptation to local environment."

Wade quotes geneticist Mark D. Shriver as saying, "It’s very valid to expect that there will be factors subject to genetic adaptation and that are now more prevalent in contemporary African-Americans than in the ancestral group."

But he also quotes geneticist Alkes L. Price as saying, "This paper does not provide evidence of selection having occurred post-Africa."

This just goes to show that, here in the US anyway, we’re ALL hybrids, of one sort or another. Whitley Strieber created a special type of extraordinary beings in fiction. This novel is out of print, so you won’t find it in your bookstore, but you can still get it (along with an autographed bookplate designed by Whitley) from the Whitley Strieber Collection.

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