Seeking Ancestry in DNA Ties Uncovered by Tests - New York Times 1

Seeking Ancestry in DNA Ties Uncovered by Tests - New York Times 1

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
04/06/2008 07:18 PM Seeking Ancestry in DNA Ties Uncovered by Tests - New York Times Page 1 of 4 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/12/us/12genes.html?pagewanted=print April 12, 2006 THE DNA AGE Seeking Ancestry in DNA Ties Uncovered by Tests By AMY HARMON Alan Moldawer's adopted twins, Matt and Andrew, had always thought of themselves as white. But when it came time for them to apply to college last year, Mr. Moldawer thought it might be worth investigating the origins of their slightly tan-tinted skin, with a new DNA kit that he had heard could determine an individual's genetic ancestry. The results, designating the boys 9 percent Native American and 11 percent northern African, arrived too late for the admissions process. But Mr. Moldawer, a business executive in Silver Spring, Md., says they could be useful in obtaining financial aid. "Naturally when you're applying to college you're looking at how your genetic status might help you," said Mr. Moldawer, who knows that the twins' birth parents are white, but has little information about their extended family. "I have three kids going now, and you can bet that any advantage we can take we will." Genetic tests, once obscure tools for scientists, have begun to influence everyday lives in many ways. The tests are reshaping people's sense of themselves — where they came from, why they behave as they do, what disease might be coming their way. It may be only natural then that ethnic ancestry tests, one of the first commercial products to emerge from the genetic revolution, are spurring a thorough exploration of the question, What is in it for me? Many scientists criticize the ethnic ancestry tests as promising more than they can deliver. The legacy of an ancestor several generations back may be too diluted to show up. And the tests have a margin of error, so results showing a small amount of ancestry from one continent may not actually mean someone has any. Given the tests' speculative nature, it seems unlikely that colleges, governments and other institutions will embrace them. But that has not stopped many test-takers from adopting new DNA-based ethnicities — and a sense of entitlement to the privileges typically reserved for them. Prospective employees with white skin are using the tests to apply as minority candidates, while some with black skin are citing their European ancestry in claiming inheritance rights. One Christian is using the test to claim Jewish genetic ancestry and to demand Israeli citizenship, and Americans of every shade are staking a DNA claim to Indian scholarships, health services and casino
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
04/06/2008 07:18 PM Seeking Ancestry in DNA Ties Uncovered by Tests - New York Times
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 07/08/2009 for the course LIFESCI ls 4 taught by Professor Merriam during the Winter '08 term at UCLA.

Page1 / 4

Seeking Ancestry in DNA Ties Uncovered by Tests - New York Times 1

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online