Would you take a DNA test to see your origins?

By: | Post date: September 18, 2016 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Personal

Some fascinating answers here.

For me, no, and that’s about different attitudes to ethnicity and history.

My no is for the same reason as User’s (answer stupidly collapsed by mods) or Feifei Wang’s. My skepticism about the methodologies in pop DNA tests is the same as Madelene Zarifa’s, my skepticism about the utility the same as Lyonel Perabo’s.

My father’s Greek Cypriot, my mother’s Greek Cretan. It’s likely Greek peasantry all the way back. If there was some stray Venetian in my lineage from 500 years back, or some stray Arabic from 1000 years back, that does not impact my sense of who I am—a sense that is cultural and not genetic.

Now, that attitude is coloured by being brought up in an ethnically monolithic area (Crete, where even the Muslims were Greek). If I were Anglo in the Melting Pot of the US, I may well have a different attitude. In fact, Cypriots have been much more sanguine about being a mixture of people than Greece Greeks are; I might have been more curious had I been brought up in Cyprus.

But really, the peregrinations of my ancestors, such as they might have been, doesn’t tell me who I am. I already know who I am. And “0.5% Sub-Saharan African” or “1.2% East Asian” is statistical noise, it’s not identity.

Feifei put it well:

If the test shown I have Arabic or perhaps Jewish ancestors, I’m not going to start picking up the Quran or convert to Judaism. I don’t understand some people’s need to search their “roots”, as if that would help them define who they are. I might not know exactly who I am, but I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with my genetics. I originated in Beijing, China. That’s my origin.

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