COMING SOON Commercial DNA testing and those pesky “ethnicity estimates.”


John Terrell

060628-N-6645H-025  U.S. Navy photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 3rd Class Adam Herrada (RELEASED)

AFTER YOU HAVE SENT to them a carefully collected sample of your spit or a used buccal swab along with your PayPal information, commercial DNA testing companies are likely to send back to you what they have found therein reported as your very own personal “ethnicity estimates“—usually expressed as percentages of this-and-that such as 43% West European, 18% Scandinavian, 6% Irish/Scottish/Welsh, 3% Finnish/ Russian, etc. all adding up to 100%.

If you go online to find out what on earth these percentages are telling you (for example, here) you are likely to get a great deal of misinformation.

Stay tuned to SCIENCE DIALOGUES for a penetrating critique of these pesky little percentages and the less than wonderful racial assumptions lurking within them.