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Jesse Jackson's lineage traced

CHICAGO, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- A professor specializing in African-American genetics says he has traced the ancestry of Jesse Jackson to farmers in Sierra Leone.

Dr. Rick A. Kittles of the University of Chicago told an audience in Chicago Friday that Jackson's lineage dates to the Mende farmers in West Africa, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday.

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Kittles, who runs a company called African Ancestry, which analyzes DNA for about $325 a person, says it is important for everyone to be tested, the Sun-Times reported.

"When you say, 'I might have diabetes,' the first thing (a doctor) says is, 'Do you have a family history?' So it's important to understand your ancestry for many other reasons besides setting up some map of Africa and saying, 'This is where I'm from,' " said Kittles, who claims to have tested nearly 15,000 people since 1995.

Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey and musician Quincy Jones had their DNA analyzed for the 2006 PBS miniseries "African-American Lives," the Tribune reported.

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