by Alisha Sherron, Squawker:
Who were your ancestors? What is your ethnic background composed of? Sites like Ancestry.com and 23andme have always been some go to sources in answering all of your toughest questions. But how accurate are they? In a recent interview with Cracked, one of the major ancestry testing companies, (which specific company is unknown) spilled the beans on what really happens when you purchase an ancestry kit. While I can’t say I’m surprised, you may be shocked to learn that these ancestry sites aren’t always as accurate as they claim to be. Beyond this, they’ve also admitted to tampering with the result to “screw with racists”.
When Inside Edition had a set of triplets send their spit in toAncestry.com and 23andMe, they got wildly different results from both services. Neither gave each triplet the same ancestry results. “Tests can be a crapshoot. For DNA tests, they use genetic markers, which are little variations in the DNA one or several groups may have, but others do not. The more markers there are, the more accurate the test will be.”
Shocked yet? Yeah, I didn’t think so. A lot of my friends have taken these types of DNA Tests, and most of them come back saying, “I don’t think this is entirely accurate…”
Remember when white supremacist Craig Cobb found out that he was 14% black? Well as it turns out, there’s a possibility that those numbers could have been fudged with.
Morgan and his colleagues were caught between a rock and a really-want-to-mess-with-racists place. It would’ve been fun to throw a “10 percent West African” in there, but then they might have a pissed-off, dangerous person at their office, waving a gun. “Since we couldn’t do anything to the results (and we wanted to), what we did was add ‘< 1 percent’ to each African category of ethnicity. That way we weren’t lying, and they would both be wondering how much under a percentage point was. We always try to round to the nearest number because we sometimes hear about percentage points, but for them, we leave it open to whether it’s a one or a zero.”
It’s a compromise that’s elegant in its passive-aggressive simplicity. And it got a result. “The near-N-bomber wrote to us asking what that meant, and we wrote back that it meant it was under 1 percent. And we were not saying zero. Unless they got another test, that was going to bother them. Maybe they weren’t 100 percent Caucasian. I mean, they were, according to the results, but this way it leaves it open, and they’ll always be wondering.”
This is beyond shady and deceptive, people pay more than they can really afford sometimes, just to find out the truth about their heritage. What about this is acceptable? How does this turn a racist into a “non racist”? It doesn’t. There’s nothing but high levels of dishonesty in these companies. Unfortunately, this doesn’t even fully cover the other things they do behind closed doors.
With a massive database of genetic information, the company can turn around and sell that data to other companies. Plenty of those companies are doing scientific research that can only be done with access to large amounts of genetic information. Even government agencies like the National Institutes of Health use the data to better understand the hereditary causes of diseases.
Read More @ Squawker.org