“Genetics is NOT genealogy.”

The following article was in yesterday’s “New York Times.” Although it uses Elizabeth Warren’s recent DNA reveal and accompanying news stories as an example, don’t let your political beliefs stop you from reading. This story is actually about all of us. One of the salient points is that many of us are “doing the math” wrong because we misunderstand what’s actually pretty simple science. What we may think — that each parent contributes 50% of our DNA, our grandparents 25% and so forth on back — isn’t correct. And the author makes the point that “our genetic code cannot be treated as a matter of simple fractions.” That math is wrong. The things that jumped out at me are 1. the title of this piece, quoting Dr. Coop of University of California, Davis: “Genetics is not genealogy” and 2. “DNA is not a liquid [i.e. “blood”] that can be divided into microscopic drops. It’s a stringlike molecule….” We know those things, of course, but still…. I think you’ll find the brief article an interesting, helpful read as you research.

 

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