Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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Release date: February 10, 2010
Directed by: Leslie Asako Gladsjo, Stephen Ives, John Maggio...
Produced by: Kunhardt McGee Productions, Inkwell Films, Thirteen
Running time: 150 minutes

"Faces of America" looks beyond the black experience to explore American identity with guests who are Asian, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Syrian, West Indian, and Native American. Joining Professor Gates in this series are poet Elizabeth Alexander, chef Mario Batali, Stephen Colbert, writer Junot Diaz, writer Louise Erdrich, writer Malcolm Gladwell, Eva Longoria, Yo Yo Ma, Mike Nichols, former monarch of Jordan Queen Noor, Meryl Streep, and figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi.

Too expensive for popular use, to date, very few people have had their entire genome sequenced. Working with Illumina and Knome and geneticists at the Broad Institute and the Harvard Medical School, “Faces of America” makes medical history by filming the sequencing and interpretation of the genomes – six billion base pairs – of Professor Gates and his father, Henry Louis Gates, Sr. In addition, each guest will undergo dense genotyping to trace their father’s line, mother’s line and their admixture (that is, their percentages of European, Asian, Native American, and African ancestry). The producers and staff of the show researched Meryl Streep’s genealogy and came across that she was a descendant of John Wilkinson from Bucks County,” said Jeff Marshall, Heritage Conservancy’s Vice President of Resource Protection and noted Bucks County historian and author.