View Poll Results: Have you ever had your DNA tested?

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  • No, and I don't plan on ever having my DNA tested.

    2 18.18%
  • No, but I might have my DNA tested someday.

    5 45.45%
  • No, but I want to have my DNA tested soon.

    0 0%
  • Yes, I've had my DNA tested, but have kept the results to myself.

    1 9.09%
  • Yes, I have had my DNA tested, and have shared the result with others.

    3 27.27%
Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    MichaelCorfman's Avatar
    MichaelCorfman is offline GPWA Executive Director
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    Question Have you ever had your DNA tested?

    A couple years ago I had my DNA tested. Actually, I gave test kits to my wife, our kids, and my mom and my wife's mom as well for Christmas. Mostly I was interested in what the kits would show in terms of our ancestry, but I was also curious what some of the other tests might show as well. Then, earlier today, just as I was about to figure out a question to use for this week's poll, I received an email about some newly added genetic relatives of mine, and decided the topic of genetic testing might make for an interesting poll.

    I've seen lots of reactions to the idea of genetic testing. Some very positive about wanting to contribute to research. Some very negative about the potential big-brother aspects of others knowing your genetic heritage. And both positive and negative reactions from folks that would either like or not like to find out if they have a genetic predisposition to a medical condition.

    Personally, I've answered a significant number of surveys from the genetic testing service I used to contribute to efforts to correlate genes with personal characteristics. And I personally believe that understanding the correlation between genetics and various medical treatments will play a significant role in improving health care over the longer term.

    For this week's poll I invite you to share your thoughts about genetic testing in a post in addition to voting in the poll.

    Oh, and as an affiliate, I do have to point out that many of the genetic testing services have affiliate programs.

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  3. #2
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    Hi Michael! Nice thread. There was a time when I was spending a lot of time on genetics and ancestry. I really liked that. But now I would ask you what if there is a reincarnation of your soul? In that case your spirit doesn't give a damn on your DNA since it exists only on body level. Just some food for thought.

  4. #3
    Renee's Avatar
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    This topic came up this week in my family. I had my DNA tested a couple of years ago and the result was a little surprising in some aspects, and not surprising at all in others. For xmas I bought my parents a test because I wanted to see whether anything came up in theirs that did not come up in mine. I also opted for the health assesment as part of my test. There was one troubling discovery there, but it's something that is very easily managed as long as I keep my brain active.

    I use - it seems to have the most data to compare with so you get a more precise result on location.

    Europe - 99.1% (not surprising)
    - East Europe - 65.8%
    -- Balkan 46.0%
    -- Baltic 19.8% (surprised at this part)
    - South Europe - 33.3%
    -- Greek and South Italian 31.3% (VERY surprised at this)
    -- Italian 2.0%
    Asia 0.9% (surprised me the most)
    - South Asian - 0.9% (on the map this shows as India)

    So then my parents results came back this week:
    Dad (my dad is a Hungarian refugee for thsoe who don't know):
    Europe - 93.2%
    - East Europe - 91.2%
    -- Balkan 64.1%
    -- East European 27.1% (i guess they don't have a granular breakdown of this part)
    - Ashkenazi Jewish - 2% (was NOT expecting this)
    Asia - 5.9% (was not expecting this to be so large)
    - West Asia - 2.6% (expected this because of the Hungarian invasion - this is Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan)
    - Central Asia - 2.1% (Kazakhstan mostly, but that area)
    - South Asia - 1.2% (India, bangladesh, bhutan, pakistan, afghanistan)
    Middle East - 0.9% (centres around saudi arabia)

    Mum: (first gen Aus from Serbian/Croatian refugee parents)
    Europe - 100%
    - East Europe 61.0%
    -- Balkan - 49.5%
    -- East European - 11.5%
    - South Europe - 30.3%
    -- Greek and South Italian - 30.3%
    - North and West European - 8.7%
    -- Finnish - 8.7% (very surprised!!)

    So now when I'm looking at this, I'm wondering how so much of my DNA was Greek and South Italian when only mum has those genes and not as high percentage as I do. And also, I have just plain old Italian which neither of my folks have. Neither of them have Baltic either.

    Someone asked me today am I sure that's my dad. Well yes, because it tells you how many segments you share with the people you're DNA matched with too, and I match almost the same amount with both parents.

    So now I'm busy contacting a few people who have greater DNA matches with my parents to see if I can locate some of their families back in Europe as we lost touch with them after my grandparents passed.

    I find all this stuff really interesting. Gets my nerd juices flowing.
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  5. #4
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    I had mine tested and I tested other people. Had a company that did this. Give me raw DNA data and I can still make sense of it.

    The field can be roughly divided into three parts. Medical stuff such as the BRCA2 gene for breast cancer, useful stuff such as whether you're a fast or slow metabolizer of coffee, and funfair stuff such as ancestry.

    The first two examine specific genes, and are amazingly helpful, while ancestry uses some markers in junk DNA, and big data, to detect "where you come from". It's not very accurate (as we can see on Renee's example) and can't be considered anything other than a bit of fun. People get all sorts of results.

    You can't really tell if someone is 75.9% European. If you go back only 20 generations, which is 500 years, you had exactly 1,048,576 direct ancestors who contributed their genes to you. It's a mess.

    How far back do you go, anyway? If you go back far enough you'll find we're all African.

    You know those people who claim to be descendants of royalty? Well, they cherry pick that one ancestor they fancy. If someone has an ancestor who lived in 1850 and was a baron, that's roughly 7 generations ago and he's one of your 128 direct ancestors (0.78%). The others may well have been whores, burglars and deserters.

    There's no such thing as a direct line of ancestry (it spreads and keeps spreading), and the male line of ancestry is an absolutely ridiculous concept.

    So ancestry is a bunch of junk that can't be taken too seriously, and it's easily ridiculed by anyone who knows a thing or two about genetics. Genetics in general is full of misconceptions, traps and fallacies, especially when you start talking about humans, as that's when ego and the need to belong come into play. Ancestry thrives on this.

    Do take individual gene tests seriously though, they matter and they are accurate. If you have CC at position rs1801133 then that's what you have and your biology is forever determined by this. It's just that the interpretation might be wrong, depending on who you ask.

    If you do have CC at some position and you get your mom and dad tested, since you get one C from mom and one C from dad, they must have one of these combinations:
    CC and CC (100% chance that you'll get CC)
    CC and CT (50% chance)
    CT and CT (25% chance)

    If they don't have one of these combinations, there was a mutation, or a sequencing error, or you were adopted.

    This bit is exact science. Ancestry, done with big data, is not. It's a rough guideline at best.

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  7. #5
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    I also don't believe that ancestry companies have the ability to really break out sub-regional percentages.

    And I think your numbers show this - as it's extremely unlikely that you'll have more "Greek and South Italian" heritage than your mum, especially if your dad has none. Unless there's a family scandal ... ??

    Think of it this way - if you go back 3 generations to great grandparents then each of this 8 people from this generation should have roughly 12.5% (+/- 2.5% through variance) of your input.

    So to see claimed numbers at 2% and less, it's pure guesswork. They'll have found some genetic markers for these regions / races, but the percentages are very hypothetical - and probably as accurate as astrology.

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  9. #6
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    Hm, there are things you don't want to know. For example, most people don't want to know their cause or their date of death.

    Oh, and on a sidenote: everyone here can be almost 100% sure that he has some atoms from Shakespeare and Da Vinci in his body (atoms, not DNA).
    "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

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  11. #7
    newcustomeroffer is offline Public Member
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    Haven't done it myself but bought my wife the Ancestry DNA kit for Christmas and we're currently awaiting the results. Interested to see what she gets back, dare say it will prompt me to do a test also if it proves interesting.

    The Ant & Dec DNA Journey programme that was show on TV here in the UK before Christmas was the main reason for the present, they got some interesting results from theirs although clearly went a whole lot further than an off-the-shelf DNA kit offers.

  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    probably as accurate as astrology.
    That was funny!
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  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    So to see claimed numbers at 2% and less, it's pure guesswork. They'll have found some genetic markers for these regions / races, but the percentages are very hypothetical - and probably as accurate as astrology.
    Maybe just slightly more accurate than astrology:

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