Marco Rubio Discovers ‘Pure Native American’ Relative on PBS

Sen. Marco Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio / Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) was featured on the PBS show Finding Your Roots and was told he has a distant relative who was a "pure Native American," giving him at least twice as much Native American ancestry as his Democratic Massachusetts Senate colleague Elizabeth Warren.

Rubio was shocked to learn from host Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, that his great-great-great-grandmother was a Native American.

"When we analyzed his mitochondrial DNA, a genetic fingerprint passed down unchanged from mother to child for thousands of years, we found that his direct maternal line was Native American," Gates told Rubio.

The ancestral line accounts for 4.2 percent of Rubio's genetic makeup, Gates revealed on the show.

"Thank you for including me, it was one of the most amazing things I have ever been a part of," Rubio wrote on Twitter. "My Native American heritage was an amazing discovery."

The results were in sharp contrast with Warren, who had long presented herself during her professional career as a Native American and attempted to take a DNA test to prove her claims last year.

Though the results were initially presented as proof of her claims, a closer look revealed the results were largely inconclusive. The genealogist was able to say only that there was "strong evidence" that Warren may have Native American in her family tree "dating back 6 to 10 generations," meaning she was between .097 and 1.56 percent Native American.

Rubio, unlike Warren, had never made any claims of Native American ancestry during his career.

The full episode, which aired on Tuesday night, can be viewed online at PBS.org.