Genealogical DNA Testing Not Perfect!
Vicki’s note – Here is a partial transcript of a NPR National Public Radio broadcast from Gisele Grayson – Senior Producer, Science Desk explaining how DNA tests can be “inaccurate” and how different companies can have different results. You can read the entire transcript linked below, or listen to it.
This may be a partial explanation/answer of Kim Caswell’s DNA questions and dissatisfaction about her MyHeritage DNA test results. Kim brings up some valid considerations and cautions on getting and interpreting DNA tests for genealogy.
It is always a good idea to always be careful in what we do with Genealogical information that we discover, including DNA testing. Remember that we only get 1/2 of each parent’s genes, and any siblings get their own variation of 1/2. So it is wise to have several people in your family tested if possible to get comparisons, and to get tests at more than one company if you can afford it.
OR maybe not? Read the NPR article to help you decide if it is worth it to you.
“Friday, 19 January, 2018
Comment: Hello Everyone,
I have been away from Gen. Club and the blog for far too long but I feel I need to post this warning.
My husband got me the MyHeritage DNA kit for my birthday, I got my results and they are bogus.
First of all, my results came back titled ” Kimberly Buetow’s Ethnicity Estimate”. I never, anywhere, gave my maiden name – they should not have been able to know that. And why come back with my maiden name and not the name I put on the paperwork anyway? Then I got to thinking… at one point I started a family tree search using my maiden name. That could be the only place that they got the name from.
Then I get an email saying they located DNA matches. Surprisingly all the names can be found on MyHeritage web site. Not one name they gave me matches anything I have uncovered. I have been working on my ancestry nearly 30 yrs. with the assistance of actual hand written letters, diaries, journals and verified documents and records handed down through family members going back to as early as 1549. Every one of my grandparents, g-grandparents and back to 4x G-grandparents were born in cities and villages in Germany, Prosen and Prussia but the results say I am 21.2% Polish and the map does show Poland. BUT – many years ago, Poland was Prussia and a part of Germany.
It also says I am 1.1% Nigerian. When I spoke with a contact person I was told that basically every one of us has some African DNA. I’m sorry, bull.
Therefore, I believe people are getting false or misleading results because they are going by what some or many places are called today, not what they once were. Many people are not aware of name or country changes so will take results at face value.
It is my opinion that this will lead many down a false path in their genealogical searches.
SO – after all this rambling – I just want everyone to be very careful in the paths they follow after receiving DNA results.
Click here for the following NPR full article.
My Grandmother Was Italian. Why Aren’t My Genes Italian?
“Maybe you got one of those find-your-ancestry kits over the holidays. You’ve sent off your awkwardly-collected saliva sample and now you’re awaiting your results. If your experience is anything like that of me and my mom, you may find surprises — not the dramatic “switched at birth,” but results that are really different than you expected….
Last fall, we sent away to get our DNA tested by Helix, the company that works with National Geographic. Mom’s results: 31 percent from Italy and Southern Europe. That made sense because of her Italian mother. But my Helix results didn’t even have an “Italy and Southern European” category. How could I have 50 percent of Mom’s DNA and not have any Italian? We do look alike, and she says there’s little chance we were switched at birth.
We decided to get a second opinion and sent away to another company, 23andMe. We opened our results together and were just as surprised. This time, I at least had a category for southern Europe. But Mom came back as 25 percent southern European, me only 6 percent. And the Italian? Mom had 11.3 percent to my 1.6. So maybe the first test wasn’t wrong. But how could I have an Italian grandmother and almost no Italian genes?…”