When a DNA Test Shatters Your Identity

More than 12 million people took DNA tests from companies such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA in 2017, and the number is only expected to rise. While many of them only want to find distant relatives or find out what part of the world their ancesters came from, sometimes the results are completely unexpected. Imagine finding out you are not genetically related to your father, or less commonly, your mother. Or even a sibling or aunt, because DNA tests can reveal family secrets that don't directly involve the person taking the test.  

Lynn, 55, of all people, understood that DNA tests can reveal family secrets. Her husband had been adopted, and Lynn set out to use her son’s AncestryDNA tests to find his paternal grandparents. In the process, she compared her son’s results to her brother’s and quickly realized something wrong. It didn’t look like a typical uncle-nephew relationship. The reason, Lynn eventually found out, was that her biological father was not the father she grew up with. “I just didn’t see it coming,” she says. “If you go looking into other people’s secrets, you just might find one of your own.” Her mother still refuses to reveal what happened.

Such results can cause rifts in the family and send the subject into depression. But it's happened to so many people that online support groups have sprung up to help people deal with the fallout. Read about those groups at the Atlantic. -via Digg


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I learned in my 20s that my brother and I were conceived through anonymous sperm donation (different donors), so I signed up for 23andMe to see if I could find some heath info. I matched with a half-brother who hadn’t heard any of this! Poor guy. Rotten way to find out.
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I had mine tested, only to find out that I have absolutely no secrets at all. I'm white, with known recent roots in Ireland, England, Wales, and Sweden...and that's where my roots seem to end for many hundreds of years. But I'm more Neanderthal than most modern humans, which is neat.
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