DNA Testing of New York’s New Governor David Paterson

As of Monday the 17th of March, David Paterson will be the Governor of New York State.  Lt. Gov. Paterson recently sat down with Susan Arbetter of WHMT’s NYNOW to discuss the results of his genetic genealogy test results.  Paterson is probably the first governor in the United States to have undergone genetic genealogy testing, and might be the highest government official to do so and then speak openly about it.  These videos are very enjoyable, and it’s interesting to learn more about the future Governor.

In the first segment, Arbetter and Paterson discuss some of Paterson’s genealogy.  They also discuss Paterson’s Y-DNA, which is of European origin.  Arbetter writes on her blog: "On the Lt. Governor’s paternal side, like almost 25% of all African Americans, he’s got white progenitors from England, Ireland and Scotland."


In the second segment, Paterson starts out discussing his maternal ancestry and the West African origin of his mtDNA.  Arbetter writes on her blog: "On his maternal side he has eastern European Jewish ancestry, as well as strong ties to what’s known as the Guinea Bissou region of West Africa which is now divided among Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Gambia."

In the final section, Arbetter and Paterson discuss issues of race and politics:

Arbetter blogged about Paterson’s DNA testing at "The Lt. Governor’s DNA: A Citizen of the World" and "Paterson’s Staff; Spitzer’s children."

11 Responses

  1. Apple 18 March 2008 / 12:27 pm

    Very interesting interviews. Thanks for sharing them.

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  3. KB 15 December 2008 / 10:06 am

    Ok, this is another misunderstanding and misinterpretation of DNA testing. Just because you have two mtDNA matches with Jews does not mean you have Jewish ancestry. In Paterson’s case, having a sub-Saharan MtDNA type, it means that these Jews have African MtDNA (not that Paterson has Jewish DNA.) It doesn’t work both ways.
    Paterson was careful to explain this subtlety in a speech to a Jewish group, but the interviewer has twisted the test results to claim that Paterson has “Eastern European Jewish” ancestry, which is not the case at all. Bennett Greenspan of FamilyTreeDNA has contributed to this misinformation by failing to correct the news reporters that are covering this story.

    Basically, this “Jewish” connection is false. Although he is very distantly related to a small percentage of Jews, it is through the African connection. He has no Jewish ancestors.

  4. Blaine Bettinger 15 December 2008 / 10:28 am

    KB – I seriously doubt the interviewer “twisted” the results, as least as far as the word implies some sort of malicious intent. It is far more likely that the interviewer has no background in genetics or anthropology and thus has little or no understanding of genetic genealogy.

  5. N.C. 13 February 2009 / 2:45 pm

    KB, why do I get the feeling that you subscribe to Black Liberation Theology (Black Hebrew Israelism)?

  6. Matthew 28 June 2010 / 9:10 pm

    “…the only white man on the ticket”: How can that conceivably be considered a “funny” story? Why did the host erupt into laughter? That remark is base, vile anti-Semitism. Did I miss something here? It is astonishing – ASTONISHING – that that would be characterized as a “funny story”, and all the more remarkable that the ignorant host reacted as she did.

  7. Helen 29 August 2010 / 8:18 pm

    If the U.S. Government apologized for slavery, wouldn’t that mean that some of the apologists were apologizing to themselves?

  8. Helen 29 August 2010 / 8:21 pm

    To KB: How do you know that he has no Jewish Ancestors?

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