Monday, December 18, 2017

Be careful about the DNA testing services

It seems like they like to mess with people.  Only "racists", of course:
Remember when white supremacist Craig Cobb found out that he was 14% black? Well as it turns out, there’s a possibility that those numbers could have been fudged with.
What about this is acceptable? How does this turn a racist into a “non racist”?
The commercials are a bit off-putting, targeted at people who seem to want to wear their progressive bona fides on their sleeves.  This level of shenanigans is just the icing on the cake.

No thanks.  Of course, I don't need this sort of service, as Mom (and other Matriarchs of the Borepatch clan) did a lot of genealogy so my family history is well documented.


bruce said...

It's a wonderful ability to see where one comes from thousands of years ago. It's neat to find relatives who share a percentage of one's genome. I don't care about social positions. To see how much neanderthal is in one's blood, what diseases one might be prone to. it'd fascinating.

SiGraybeard said...

I don't see how 23AndMe could know that the person submitting the "spit tube" is a racist. I've done the process, and it's about as anonymous as you can get. You enter a name; it doesn't have to be your legal name, although I'd imagine most people would use theirs. I don't believe there's such a thing as a name that's unique in the world, so how do they get the information that this is the person they want "screw with"?

I found the results from 23AndMe interesting and mildly entertaining. Far, far more useful is a site that takes your sequenced genes from 23AndMe or the others and creates a personalized database for you. You can search by official sequence designations or by other criteria. This second service is (currently) lifetime free updates as the databases get more accurate for 5 bucks.

Sherm said...

I too have well researched genealogy going back at least to the Revolutionary War on most lines. However, research on one great-grandfather convinced me that pretty much everything we "knew" about him was a lie, even his name. After 40 years of searching his was the deadest of dead ends.

A DNA test proved the key to open that lock. I found a second cousin, another great-grandson of this man. They thought he'd died in 1895 when, in fact, he'd changed his name, moved 1000 miles, and started a second family with my great-grandmother (who he also subsequently abandoned). His real name and family lore even led us to his grave.

The rest of what those companies are selling, your ancestral heritage and such, is not worth their price of admission.

Real genealogy tells me some ancestors owned slaves. It also tells me that the grave at Arlington from 2nd Bull Run more than cancels any debt. I suspect that's fairly typical.

Divemedic said...

Of course, one could use the presence of minority DNA as a legitimate claim at some affirmative action.

Murphy(AZ) said...

Suppose for just a minute, that the information these "services" provide is accurate and aboveboard. Before you spit in the tube and pay your money, ask yourself this one question: Who else is going to have access to this information?

If these companies can get $50-$100 or more out of you, how much do you suppose, the government or Mega-Giant Medical Corp, Inc., might be willing to pay for this expanding database of our most private information? Suppose these entities aren't paying the DNA research companies; what would it take to put the right amount of dollars into an off-shore account for some low-level medical or computer tech to gather these results on a memory stick and forward it to, well, insert the name of your favorite co-conspirator here?

I can't think of anything these companies could tell me that I'd want to share outside my family.

Range Squirrel said...

I've thought along those lines myself. Suppose my life insurance company decided to drop me after 20 years of payments, because a DNA sweatshop believes I am at a higher risk of disease? While it may be interesting to know a little more about my ancestry, life is lived going forward.