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Study Finds 99.9% Genetic Similarities Among Akan, Gaa-Adangbe, Yoruba, and Igbo

In 2005, the groundbreaking study "Genetic Structure in Four West African Population Groups" by Adebowale A. Adeyemo, Guanjie Chen, Yuanxiu Chen, and Charles Rotimi was published in BMC Genetics. It explored the genetic links among four ethnic groups in West Africa: the Akan and Gaa-Adangbe from Ghana, and the Yoruba and Igbo from Nigeria. This research revealed significant genetic similarities beneath the surface of linguistic and cultural diversity, pointing to a shared ancestry and genetic unity.


The Foundation of Genetic Similarity


This study demonstrated a remarkably high degree of genetic similarity among the Akan, Gaa-Adangbe, Yoruba, and Igbo populations. Key findings supporting this conclusion include:


Lack of Significant Genetic Structure


A notable outcome of the study is the finding of no significant genetic structure across the sample, meaning the genetic diversity within any of the groups is greater than the diversity between them. This observation challenges the idea that distinct genetic boundaries align with cultural or linguistic differences, suggesting a common genetic heritage instead. The study clarifies that while each group exhibits genetic diversity, their overall genetic profiles are strikingly similar. This similarity underscores a shared genetic heritage, highlighting a close relationship beyond cultural and linguistic distinctions.


Analysis of Molecular Variance (AMOVA)


The AMOVA results showed that the genetic variance between populations is less than 0.1%, indicating that over 99.9% of genetic variation is within populations rather than between them. This minor variance between the groups emphasizes their profound genetic similarity.


Pair-wise Genetic Distances


The study also found that genetic distances between the four ethnic groups were remarkably similar, further supporting the idea of a shared genetic foundation. This similarity in genetic distances reinforces the concept that these populations are closely related at a genetic level.


Implications for Understanding and Research


The findings have significant implications for both scientific research and our broader understanding of human diversity. The high genetic similarity suggests that despite their cultural and linguistic diversity, these groups share a common genetic ancestry, illustrating the interconnectedness of human populations.




The 2005 study offers insight into the common ancestry of the Akan, Gaa-Adangbe, Yoruba, and Igbo populations. Genetic analysis reveals that the cultural and linguistic diversity seen today is underpinned by substantial genetic similarity, hinting at a shared heritage from ancient times. This likely originated from a unified community or ancient tribes, whose descendants, though diversified, remain connected by their shared lineage.


This discovery encourages a reevaluation of the historical narratives of these populations, emphasizing the interconnectedness of human societies through millennia. It suggests that the distinct cultures and languages of today's Akan, Gaa-Adangbe, Yoruba, and Igbo may all derive from a collective ancestral group, highlighting the underlying unity amidst diversity.


The study enriches our understanding of West Africa's genetic and cultural landscape, opening a window into the ancient connections that unite these groups. Moving forward, this knowledge deepens our appreciation for humanity's shared history, reminding us of our common origins and the complex, intertwined narratives that compose human civilization.

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