Guyana: President gets ancestral DNA test

PRESIDENT David Granger has been among the first persons to have samples taken for the conduct of an ancestral Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA) test in Guyana. The test is being launched for the first time in this country by Eureka Medical Laboratory, and Mr. Shawn Manbodh, Quality Manager and Medical Technologist, visited State House to take the President’s sample as part of the entity’s launching activities.

Mr. Manbodh explained to the President that the test results would allow him to understand his ancestral genetic make-up.
“It basically tells about your lineage. It can tell what make-up you have. Let’s say, for instance, in a Guyanese person, how much percentage of African and how much percentage East Indian and how much percent is Chinese…” he said.
These percentages are not always obvious, Mr. Manbodh explained, as someone’s physical characteristics might reflect an ethnicity that accounts for 40 percent of that person’s genetic make-up but other parts of that person’s lineage may be dominant in ways that are not externally obvious.

While Ancestry DNA is not often considered a necessity but more a means to satisfy a person’s desire to understand where they came from, Mr. Manbodh said, this type of testing can become very important when trying to diagnose illnesses. For example, if someone were to present symptoms of an illness that is uncommon among members of his/her perceived race, it would be useful for a doctor to know what other ethnicity or race is in that person’s ancestry in order to help with diagnosis.

“Knowing exactly where you came from, to know what kind of disease you have; maybe it might be some kind of unknown disease, but when you trace back your roots, you will be able to trace it and know exactly where it came from,” Mr. Manbodh said.

This test also allows not only for people to understand what percentage of a race or ethnicity they might have, but where their ancestors would have originated from. Results of this test and usually ready within 30 days.

The sample is removed by swabbing the inner cheeks of the client.

(Ministry of the Presidency)