Friday, July 02, 2010

Spitting Image

Can you send me your family tree to look at, to look for clues to the connection? You requested extended sharing, which I will decline. That is an unacceptable loss of privacy. - email from a "23andMe" member

I took the time to write to my old friend
I walked across that burning bridge
I mailed my letter off to Dallas but
Her reply came from Anchorage, Alaska - From Michelle Shocked's "Anchorage"

From Whence I Came
A few years ago I joined "23andMe". 23andMe has a mission which is, according to its "About Us", page "to be the world's trusted source of personal genetic information."

I've always been interested in genetics. My primary degree was in psychology and later I took up computing, and became interested in "genetic algorithms".

And so once we could, as individuals, discover our genomes, our genetic information, I jumped at the chance.

I paid my 350 plus dollars to 23andMe, and was sent a "kit". I had to spit into a test-tube thing to put it bluntly. And then I sent the test-tube thing, my biological data (spit), to 23andMe.

I got a heap of information back. I am pure Viking and probably have blue or green eyes (I have green) and am unlikely to get melanoma ... and so one and so forth.

But along with personal attribute information, you also, as a member of 23andMe, get information about possible relatives. This information just comes up as an anonymous list. "XXX" may be a 3rd cousin. You can request contact by clicking HERE.

So I clicked a few possible relatives and mostly people accepted and we found out we had no ancestors in common, or none that we could verify.

As well as being able to establish contact, you can elect to share more "extended" genome information.

So on one of my so-called "cousins" I clicked the "yes link". The reply came, (possibly from Anchorage).

Can you send me your family tree to look at, to look for clues to the connection? You requested extended sharing, which I will decline. That is an unacceptable loss of privacy

Manhattan Woman Near Tree
Excuse me!!! My family tree! ASIF.

Now I don't minding letting others know that I probably have green or blue eyes, that I have wet rather than dry ear-wax (yeah that's the sort of information you find out) and that my ancestors pillaged English people. But my family tree???

Jeez. Why join a site, group, whatever and subject your DNA to be discovered in spittle and be told that you have potential cousins if you want to be private.

And if you really DO want to be private, why on earth expect others to send you their family tree?

Someone needs to get off their tree.

As for me, I'm fine. At least my tree has branches.

My name is Kathleenwng and I approve this message


Anonymous said...

Fortunately the Critch side of my lineage is well documented from around 1700 or so. Like a good pup, I have papers. The other side only goes back to the 1800s in Victoria Gold Rush. But y'know, my kids don'r shiv a git! And maybe they are right. Who cares. I did for a while but satisfied myself that we were mostly spear carriers and not mounted.
As for DNA, I've been tested by experts and nobody in my family wants my genes. Wanna know about heart disease? Don't ask, please!
BTW, USD 350 is a bit steep. Shouldn't you be spending that on lollies and sweets and drinks?
Avagoodfourth, Yankee girl!

Jaded NYer said...

This is a very interesting article. Bet if I took the test my DNA would show that I am from outer space. Therefore I must remain undercover.

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