The Recipe of Me

For many years, I have wanted to have my DNA tested by Ancestry.com. Sadly, it’s always been a bit out of reach for me, financially. But this year I had a great idea. I asked my sister to split the cost with me. I figured that there’s little question that we are paddling around in the same gene pool, so our DNA would be extremely similar. So a test for me would pretty much be a test for her. To my delight, she agreed.

I ordered the kit and it came pretty quickly. I had to spit into this tube thingy. You have no idea how hard it is to produce vast quantities of saliva on demand. It’s such a strange concept to me that so much can be learned from something that seems so insignificant. And gross.

Mailing it was interesting. They provide you with all the prepaid packaging, and I followed their instructions to the letter. But when I got to the post office, it occurred to me that for the first time I’d have a hard time answering the question, “Does your package contain anything fragile, liquid, perishable, or potentially hazardous?” So I just dropped the box in their bin and basically ran like hell, letting my spit fend for itself.

I was relieved to be notified that my package had arrived safely. (And I’m sure the post office delivers these packages all the time without it becoming a hazmat situation.) Then the waiting began. They tell you it could “take 6-8 weeks or possibly longer.” You have to love specifics like that.

Finally, the results were in! I was so excited! Here are the highlights:

ethnicity-estimate

Color me surprised. I’m white. And by that I mean, I’m white, white, white, white, white. Yeah, there’s some “Iberian Peninsula” in there, but for their purposes, that includes Southern France. And since I’ve always considered myself ½ Danish, ¼ French, and ¼ Irish, the results were to be expected.

I have to confess, I was a little bit disappointed. I was kind of hoping that there would be a few exciting skeletons in the family closet. Arabic. Asian. American Indian. African. Something to add a little flavor to my stew! But no. I’m as white as snow. Still, it is fascinating to find out more about your ancestry just by spitting into a little tube.

I did learn something interesting though. According to the folks at Ancestry.com, “Your ethnicity results are unique to you. If you had additional family members tested, their results might look different. How is that possible? It comes down to the random nature of genetic inheritance. You received a random 50% of each of your parents’ DNA; because inheritance is random, a sibling typically won’t inherit exactly the same DNA as you unless he or she is an identical twin.”

Now I have to figure out how to break it to my sister that she paid for half my DNA test, but her results may vary.


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6 thoughts on “The Recipe of Me

  1. Pingback: An Open Letter to White Supremacists – The View from a Drawbridge

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