October 18, 2007

Limitations of genetic ancestry testing

From the EurekAlert release about an upcoming Science article:
Some of the tests’ limitations identified by Bolnick and her co-authors include:
  • Most tests trace only a few of your ancestors and a small portion of your DNA,
  • Tests are unlikely to identify all of the groups or locations around the world where a test-taker’s relatives are found,
  • Tests may report false negatives or false positives,
  • Limited sample databases mean test results are subject to misinterpretation,
  • There is no clear connection between DNA and racial/ethnic identity,
  • Tests cannot determine exactly where ancestors lived or what ethnic identity they held.

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