GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2007-10 > 1192948446
From: "Kimberly TallBear" <>
Subject: [DNA] TallBear Response to list responses
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2007 23:34:06 -0700 (PDT)
Thank you for your varied responses to and discussions around my post.
As always, your discussions are educational for me. I wanted to just make
a couple of comments in response to various points:
1. As far as I know, there is no conspiracy to get bad press on DNA
testing into the media. My theory is that the media is interested in the
downsides of DNA testing because it helps extend the story---puts a new
twist on a story that was getting old. It's been about two years, I think,
since the DNA testing phenomenon started hitting the news. At least that's
when I started getting interviewed about it. All of the coverage that I
saw for a very long time was positive. But how long will that story sell
papers and magazines? Now it's all negative (which, of course, is wrong).
It allows more coverage. A couple of reporters that I talked to wanted me
to say that I scoff at DNA test takers. I said no; I do not. It's
understandable why people want to do it. It's fascinating. I criticize
company practices. By the way, because of the time that it takes to do
academic projects, you'll see even more articles and books coming out on
the downsides in the next couple of years. They have all been in the works
for quite a while. But academic books and articles don't usually have the
audience of Science and 60 Minutes. I should also tell you that the people
I know that write on this issue are sympathetic with test users.
2. One lister lamented the linking of mtDNA and Y tests with the DNAPrint
test. We all find it very hard to talk about both types of test in one
breath. They are so different. DNAPrint needs an entire book to explain
its complexities and its problems. But we felt we had to address all three
in the article. We know that our point of view was not reflected in all
of its detail. That is impossible to avoid with that word limit.
3. As I read your posts tonight it occurred to me that the list should do
a book of edited discussions. How 21st century to have a book authored by
a list serv. Has that been done before? Each chapter could feature a
different subtopic. I'm sure you could agree on six or seven subtopics
that would be essential to cover. It would be a great addition to the
literature. The list founder(s) and maybe one or two other key people
could write a preface and conclusion. You would find that such a project
could not be as democratic as the list itself, and that would generate its
own problems in your community. But I think it would be a very good way
for the list to respond to the discussion that is taking place "out
there." Your perspective will never be well represented in the media. Your
views are too complex.
On Sat, October 20, 2007 12:38 pm, bbailey.lowedna wrote:
> One note about the intrepid reporters from the Daily Planet
> and other news media rags across our country whose reporters missed high
> school science and biology classes yet report on DNA testing like
> As Leslie Stahl stumbled thru the 60 minutes interview with
> her cue cards, other intrepid reporters went to work Monday morning to
> further misuse and spread information about the apparent faults of DNA
> testing from Stahl's short parody. Some truth was buried in the Stahl
> interview, but distorted with the professor of whatever who spoke about
> folks being duped or mislead about DNA testing results.
> First, as John Chandler wisely reminded me a year or so ago.
> DNA results will not tell you who you are related to; however,
> they will tell you immediately who you are NOT related to. The primary
> benefit of DNA testing.
> Most of "us" genealogist spend the many years of our lives
> chasing lineages that we are not related to. I am guilty with Fielding Lowe
> of Campbell County, TN who for 10 years thought was part of my Lowe family
> until 5 weeks of DNA testing proved otherwise. He was R1b1 and we are I1a.
> Second, Stahl never mentioned autosomal testing. We are
> made up of 1000's of grandparents who genetic makeup is in our autosomes.
> However, she did not concentrate on Y-DNA and
> mtDNA. We test Y-DNA, mtDNA and not autosomal DNA.
> Third, at this stage of DNA testing (and Stahl was correct)
> the DNA technology is not developed as yet and not refined to predict
> kinship at the 100% level. Only a presumptive and predictive genetic
> distance can be guesstimated. So the reliability of DNA testing probably
> is much less. The 67 markers gets us closer with increased predictive
> reliability but more and better DNA tests need to be developed.
> Fourth, and most important. If we did not have genetic
> genealogy DNA testing, most of "us" genealogist would go on compounding
> errors in lineages for generations to come. For the first time, we have a
> new (yet very primitive) TOOL to "drill down" and concentrate our research
> on a specific surname lineage. This is the real benefit of Y-DNA testing.
> Perhaps next time, Leslie Stahl will interview one of the pioneers
> of Genetic Genealogy and get an unbiased and clear picture of the real
> benefits of DNA testing. And then the Daily Planet's reporters will follow
> her on Monday morning with a much more truthful articles and video spots.
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