Scientific American on DNA ‘accuracy’

This is an excellent summary of the value of DNA testing as it pertains to health reporting, family history research and ‘ethnicity’.

How Accurate Are Online DNA Tests?

I agree with all that Adam Rutherford has to say in this article, in particular his assessment of the value of ‘ethnicity’ predictions:

But to say that you are 20 percent Irish, 4 percent Native American or 12 percent Scandinavian is fun, trivial and has very little scientific meaning. We all have thousands of ancestors, and our family trees become matted webs as we go back in time, which means that before long, our ancestors become everyone’s ancestors.

However, I disagree with his final comment that “DNA will tell you little about your culture, history and identity”. I have helped many people who have questions about their identity based on their search for their family connections, particularly those who do not know who were their biological parents. Also for Aboriginal Australians whose recent ancestors were removed from their Country as very young children and never knew where they came from, identifying ancestors and locating Country is tremendously important for creating as sense of kinship and identity. So knowing where you come from, which can be helped through DNA testing, is very key to self-identity.

Half or Full Siblings

Half or full siblings? Another interesting and informative blog post from Judy Russell about how to tell if siblings share the same parents or just one parent.

Half or Full…

I recently had just such a case of borderline 2018cMs, but found that, if the expected family tree is known, checking the shared matches of the two siblings will generally show if one of their parents is different, because they will have matches in common on one parent’s side but not on the other.


Racial Equality and DNA Testing

This opinion piece from Kenan Malik at The Observer, presents an interesting point of view regarding the way DNA testing can be abused to suit a racial agenda that is not in the true cause of racial equality. Although the article highlights some very valid points about the misuse of DNA testing, I don’t agree with the author’s dismissal of DNA testing as ‘pseudo-science’.

Racial equality once meant tearing down barriers, not doing a DNA test

DNA Down Under

The Unlock the Past event DNA DownUnder, a DNA-themed roadshow starring American DNA guru Blaine Bettinger, is now uploaded on its own webpage: DNA DownUnder.

There will events in all the major capitals, plus a three-day conference in Sydney. Presenters include Louise Coakley, Kerry Farmer, Michelle Patient, Helen Smith, and Cate Pearce (that’s me 🙂 ).

BRISBANE – Wed 14 Aug 2019
PERTH – Sat 17 Aug 2019
ADELAIDE – Mon 19 Aug 2019
MELBOURNE – Thu 22 Aug 2019
CANBERRA – Sat 24 Aug 2019
SYDNEY – Mon-Wed 26-28 Aug 2019 an extended in-depth program in Sydney

Check out the website and register your interest now 🙂