Travelling in a subway in New York gives us a peek view to different cross sections of the society and people of different ethnic backgrounds on a daily basis. As we take different routes which pass through different enclaves you see people of different ethnicities entering and exiting the automated doors of the compartment. Now talking specifically of Queens and Brooklyn the two boroughs of New York we get to experience the diversity of humanity in all its forms. I myself a New Yorker have seen enough of humanity in its varying genetic diversity in and around New York known for its racial diversity and can confidently say which part of the world a person is from with a fair degree of precision by looking at a person’s facial features or listening to their language and do not suffer from a cross rate effect. The cross-race effect also called cross-race bias, other-race bias or own-race bias refers to the tendency to more easily recognize members of one’s own race. The more you are exposed to cultures apart from your own culture lesser you suffer from the cross race effect.
Talking about the Racial and Genetic diversity of New York my interest in genetics was triggered by a chance program which I stumbled upon on TV channel a few years back which tracks the ancestry of a group of people in a park in Queens New York and the fact that Queens was chosen itself talks for the genetic diversity of the population in Queens. Of course now a days there are variants of this program on TV where famous celebrities are invited and their ancestry revealed through a series of historical data, archives and a combination of DNA testing. But what clues DNA testing provide for one’s ancestry. That’s where things get a bit interesting. Sorry things get a bit technical here and I need to introduce some genetic jargon to take this discussion further.
In human genetics, a human mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup is a haplogroup defined by differences in human mitochondrial DNA. Haplogroups are used to represent the major branch points on the mitochondrial phylogenetic tree. Understanding the evolutionary path of the female lineage has helped population geneticists trace the matrilineal inheritance of modern humans back to human origins in Africa and the subsequent spread around the globe. The letter names of the Haplogroups not just mitochondrial DNA Haplogroups run from A to Z. As Haplogroups were named in the order of their discovery, they do not reflect the actual genetic relationships. The hypothetical woman at the root of all these groups is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) for all currently living humans. She is commonly called Mitochondrial Eve.