How Egyptian would you say you are?
How far can you map out your family tree? Some of us can draw out the branches for a generation or two, and then it gets murky, our roots disappearing deep into the past. And what does it mean to be Egyptian anyway? With a country that has long stood at a global crossroads like Egypt, our genetic pasts can easily get tangled with the obscurities of history. Hassan Healthcare offers the first direct-to-consumer DNA test in Egypt, which you can take to trace your ancestry back to generations you would have otherwise never had the chance to learn about, all from a simple swab.
"It's basically a home kit that goes to the consumer. They take a mouth swab and take their sample," Dr. Mostafa Hassan explained to us. "It takes four weeks and gives a very comprehensive report of your ancestry."
Hassan Healthcare is an investment management company that funds healthcare startups and medical supply companies. While Egyptians already had DNA tests available to them, they were typically for use by hospitals or ordered through courts to serve as the bane of deadbeat dads. Hassan Healthcare is the first to provide a DNA test directly to a consumer for private use, and without the information getting shared with anyone else. So while we couldn't ask about any particulars, we were still able to get some insight into the great mystery of Egypt's genetic make-up.
"We've only been in operation for about a month, but there's a lot of variety," Dr. Hassan said. "A lot of Italian surprisingly, a lot of Jews, a lot of Syrians and Greeks. Our test goes back thousands of years, lots of people going in and going out, lots of mixing giving us a lot of similarities all over the world. We're 99.9% sure we'll never find anyone with 100% Egyptian ancestry."
Some people may see that as a challenge, while others might say that finding offense in the claim misses the point of what it means to be Egyptian in the first place. If everyone's a little bit different, then doesn't that make everyone the same? Deep, right? Whatever your thoughts on the matter are, the start of services like this opens up new avenues for knowing how far your roots go and answer questions we never knew we had.