Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Seeking Ancestry in DNA Ties Uncovered by Tests - New York Times

Seeking Ancestry in DNA Ties Uncovered by Tests - New York Times: "Alan Moldawer's adopted twins, Matt and Andrew, had always thought of themselves as white. But when it came time for them to apply to college last year, Mr. Moldawer thought it might be worth investigating the origins of their slightly tan-tinted skin, with a new DNA kit that he had heard could determine an individual's genetic ancestry."

The results, designating the boys 9 percent Native American and 11 percent northern African, arrived too late for the admissions process. But Mr. Moldawer, a business executive in Silver Spring, Md., says they could be useful in obtaining financial aid.

Shonda Brinson, an African-American college student, is still trying to figure out how best to apply her DNA results on employment forms.

In some cases, she has chosen to write in her actual statistics — 89 percent sub-Saharan African, 6 percent European and 5 percent East Asian. But she figures her best bet may be just checking all relevant boxes.

"That way, of the three categories they won't be able to determine which percentage is bigger," Ms. Brinson said.

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