Viewpoint: Don’t expect to find ‘the real you’ in a direct-to-consumer DNA test

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Image credit: 23andMe

In the hope of discovering more about themselves, millions of people have sent DNA-filled tubes of spit to commercial testing companies throughout the world.

What do people hope to get from this testing? If you believe the marketing campaigns, you will, as AncestryDNA declares on their website, “discover what makes you uniquely you.”

A consistent, underlying theme is that biological difference matters. These companies are selling a history that is largely rooted in biological variation, not culture or emotional connection. The clear message is that your genes are closely tied, at some intrinsic level, to who you are as a person.

[While] racial categories have remained remarkably resilient to scientific debunking, there is almost universal agreement within the science community that they are largely biologically meaningless.

Studies have found that an emphasis on genetic difference has the potential to (no surprise here) increase the likelihood of racist perspectives and decrease the perceived acceptability of policies aimed at addressing prejudice.

So, don’t believe the marketing. Your genes are only part of the infinitely complex puzzle that makes “you uniquely you.” If you feel a special connection to lederhosen, rock the lederhosen. No genes required.

Read full, original post: Why your DNA test won’t reveal the real you

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