In a recent podcast series by Cracked.com, interviewer Evan V. Symon spoke to a man known only as “Morgan,” an employee of “one of the major ancestry-testing companies.” Although “Morgan works for one of these companies, writes Symon, "he doesn’t buy into the accuracy of the product.”
Morgan explained, “Tests can be a crap shoot.” DNA testing makes use of genetic markers or “little variations in the DNA one or several groups may have, but others do not,” and while some companies use as few as 12 markers to determine ancestry, “others claim to use more than 700,000.” Accuracy essentially comes down to the number of markers used but said Morgan “nobody’s method is perfect.”
This inaccuracy has led genetics experts to accuse ancestry-testing companies of “preying on people.” These companies “don’t truly have the information they need to pinpoint your origins on a map” they say while contending, “it’s not possible to trace unique ancestry in this way.”
But there is another rub. “The beauty of this scam,” they say, is that “the companies aren’t scamming you.” “They are giving you data, real data, and allowing you to scam yourself.” And there may be one major reason why people fall into the trap.
Morgan explained that it isn’t uncommon for people to request to have their test results changed when they don’t match up to their expectations, for instance. “Such demands are a matter of pride,” he believes - “People want to be able to wave around a sheet of paper that says they’ve got whatever in their background because it makes them feel fancy.” This can especially be true of racists who use the tests to confirm that they are 100% Caucasian.
When it comes down to it, though, not only is accuracy affected by everything from contaminated samples and even “interracial lovemaking,” but unless you get a high percentage of 50-60% on your test, Morgan told Symon, you should “take it with a grain of salt.”
How do you think that the popularity of DNA testing compares with the “gullibility” 21st century web audiences display when it comes to fake news? Let us know in the comments below.
Read more about fraudulent ancestry results in written by Evan V. Symon and published by Cracked.com on December 4, 2017