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From: (John Chandler)
Subject: Re: [DNA] This week's TIME magazine article---please help!
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 16:24:44 -0400 (EDT)
References: <bc1.403ceb1.3221de57@aol.com>
In-Reply-To: <bc1.403ceb1.3221de57@aol.com> (EatWelBWel@aol.com)


Sandra wrote:
> I am hoping that you experts who read the article in this week's TIME
> magazine, Diving into the Gene Pool, would comment on it. It details a woman using
> two of the popular labs and receiving her ancestry in percentages.

Not quite. She tested at two labs. One reported percentages, but
the other simply gave her a list of possible "hits" with a bunch of
numbers that she (and *they*, too) couldn't make any sense of.

> I thought
> that technique was discounted here and that only Y-DNA and/or mt-DNA testing
> (where halplogroups and markers are assigned) was considered valid.

Not quite. The autosomal tests she took definitely have their places,
but they are not as informative as their vendors imply. In particular,
the DNA Tribes test (whose results formed the basis for most of her
article) was completely inappropriate for her because her ancestry is
considerably mixed. Well, of course, it *was* appropriate in the sense
that it allowed her to write a quirky and amusing article for "Time",
but that's not a good reason for the general public. It is worth
noting that the DNAprint results were just what she had expected --
the "surprise" report of 3% African is within the margin of error for
zero. Indeed, since she apparently doesn't have her ancestors identified
very far back, it would not be surprising to find a trace of African in
her genome anyhow.

John Chandler


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