This journalist lost a bet, and now he has to put his DNA results on the internet

antonio thumbnail
Antonio Regalado. Image credit: MIT Technology Review

It all started after the arrest of the alleged Golden State Killer in April. Police had uploaded crime-scene DNA to an open-access genealogy website, GEDmatch, and located some of his relatives. Eventually, they found him.

But one question emerged paramount (even for those innocent of anything): what’s the chance they could find you?

Specifically, I was willing to bet that more than 95 percent of people could find at least one second cousin match in Ancestry.com, the largest of these relative-finding databases.

And the stakes? The loser would have to submit a spit sample, allowing millions of strangers to compare the DNA results with their own. Now, thanks to a couple of academics with a free Friday afternoon, we have an answer of sorts, and it appears I am the loser.

Related article:  Can Google's medical AI improve our medical system? Laboratory results and real life offer different answers

According to their estimates, the chance of having a second cousin in that database is 94 percent, just shy of my 95 percent guess.

The reason I’ve decided to do the Ancestry test, which costs $99, isn’t only that I am a good loser. It’s that the choice has already been made for me. According to Coop’s estimates, I may have 200 more third cousins and 1,000 fourth cousins who’ve already gotten tested.

My DNA, like yours, is already out there.

Read full, original post: I lost a bet, and now I am going to let millions of strangers check whether we’re related

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Nigeriacotton

Video: We can ‘finally’ grow GMOs—Nigerian farmer explains why developing countries need biotech crops

Nigerian farmer Patience Koku discusses the GMO crop trials she is conducting on her farm, and why growers can "rise ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
breastfeeding bed x facebook x

Infographic: We know breastfeeding helps children. Now we know it helps mothers too

When a woman becomes pregnant, her risk of type 2 diabetes increases for the rest of her life, perhaps because ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend