Genetics tests -- Any worth at all to them?

(Joey) #21

Pittsburgh is a delightful city! A rich melting pot of ethnicity and nationality.

My strong suspicion: Given how much cross-breeding has occurred throughout history (both in Europe and in North America) the concept of “nationality” as seen through genetic profiling seems rather strained.

What’s more, nationality is a human construct - not a biological one.

I don’t doubt that genetic associations aligned with political boundaries exist. But given how often national borders have changed and how much genetic mixing has occurred over the centuries, I remain skeptical that retail genetic test results can reveal a meaningful “nationality.” Such results are likely more a response to what customers are looking to purchase than a meaningful scientific finding.

Having said that, if someone is related to a serial killer somewhere nearby in their gene puddle, 23&Me can help the authorities narrow their search :wink:

(May the blessing of bacon be always with you) #22

You’ve got Latin and Etruscan (not the same thing) as the native stock, with Greek colonists added to the mix early on, and then the Frankish invaders (Lombards in the north, and Visigoths who settled around Rome, not to mention the admixture of Celts, Africans, and Britons who joined the army and often ended up in Italy.

Saint Pachomius was an Egyptian press-ganged in Upper Egypt and brought north down the Nile to Alexandria. He was supposed to have been shipped to the Rhone area for his army service, but somehow ended up becoming one of the Desert Fathers of Christian monastic fame. I don’t know how he got out of the army, but surely many of his compatriots did their European service and most likely added their genes to the pool.

My family is supposed to be entirely British (Cornish, English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh), but who knows what that even means in reality. Obviously some Celtish and native Briton genes, but also Angles, Saxons, and probably Roman soldiers from God knows where, lol!


Can you please specify. I have a kit that I bought on impulse a while ago and have not used mostly because I am afraid to find out what illnesses I am susceptible to and because I really do not want someone to have my genes on file.

As for accuracy, I have a friend who teaches bio who claims all the commercial tests are garbage and are often wrong about the genetic results. I have no opinion other than if it tells me something about potential illnesses or conditions I would hope it would be accurate. I do not care about the ancestry aspect as I doubt I have half siblings anywhere and know where I come from and if I am Dutch instead of Bulgarian, makes no difference to me, I want to know if I have genes that make me more or less susceptible to things but if I am I really do not want to know! Which sounds ridiculous I realize. One of my parents did and found out nothing interesting except they have a lower than normal risk for Celiac. This is interesting since their biological grandchild has full blown Celiac

(Joey) #24

Having read through the terms, I recall it essentially required that I acknowledge that the testing firm would own my data - not me. Since my DNA is not theirs to pretty much do with what they please (like selling it), that was unacceptable. (Oh, and I would be paying them to own my data, no less.)

Interestingly enough, there are a few services out there that pledge that they do NOT sell your data - and they cost appreciably more - which essentially proves the point. But even those firms disclose that they may be required under various laws to disclose your DNA to governmental authorities. Hmmm.

As for accuracy… yeah, there’s that, too. If you’re going to decide to explose yourself to worrying about medical issues, I would recommend worrying about real ones rather than ones concocted through epidemiological “studies” by a for-profit company that sells its reports to you and your DNA data to others.

Just my point of view.