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To claim someone has ‘Viking ancestors’ is no better than astrology

| February 26, 2013
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Credit: Flickr/Menlo Innovations
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The following is an edited excerpt.

You may have missed the latest genetic discovery: “One million British men may be directly descended from the Roman legions”.

Such stories are becoming increasingly common. Last week on the BBC miniseries Meet the Izzards we were told that Eddie Izzard is a Viking descendant on his mother’s side and an Anglo-Saxon descendant on his father’s.

And for upwards of £150 you too can have your DNA “tested” by any of a number of direct-to-consumer ancestry companies. But how reliable are these claims? The truth is that there is usually little scientific substance to most of them and they are better thought of as genetic astrology.

Read the full article here: To claim someone has ‘Viking ancestors’ is no better than astrology

The GLP featured this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. The viewpoint is the author’s own. The GLP’s goal is to stimulate constructive discourse on challenging science issues.

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