Unlocking the past: DNA ancestry tests rewrite family histories

| | September 5, 2017
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

A growing number of companies now offer DNA tests that promise to pinpoint a customer’s heritage and, with permission, to identify genetic relatives. The firms include generalists like 23andMe and Ancestry.com and specialty companies like African Ancestry.

The customers are eager to know where they came from, to find a familial context that may be lacking. The answers hidden in DNA can be revelatory, shedding light on hidden events occurring decades earlier and forever changing the family narrative.

Mark, a banker in Delaware, got his test results back from Ancestry.com along with a list of relatives in its database. Oddly, there was no one on the list from his father’s side of the family.

There was one name he recognized, though: his father’s best friend. Who, it turned out, actually was his biological father.

Mark, 43, whose last name was withheld to protect his family’s privacy, is estranged from his mother, and the man he knew as his father died more than a decade ago. So he reached out to his father’s best friend, who confirmed an affair with his mother decades ago.

The secret that the older man thought he would take to his grave is well out of the bag.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: With a Simple DNA Test, Family Histories Are Rewritten

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