DNA, genes and me

Watching "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central, I was fascinated with his guest, Dr. Spencer Wells who is in charge of the National Geographic Genographic Project. This huge project is to assist us in finding out our roots by using our DNA.

Basically, we all evolved from Africa (boy, I bet that would rankle a few folks) and we come from one of four Haplog Groups. There are four sub-groups under the Haplog K section and three out of those four (from which most people emanate) are descendants from the Ashkenazy Jews!!!


Besides finding this generally fascinating, I was particularly intrigued because several years ago during a health challenge, I had a specialist run some lab tests on my blood. I remember the doctor's quizzical face as I sat across from him and he asked me if I was Jewish. Just because I went to Fairfax High in Los Angeles doesn't mean this Irish-Italian shiksa is Jewish. Au contrare. My tests showed that I had a rare Factor 11 blood type that comes from the Ashkenazy Jews!!!

Until this Dr. Wells Genographic Project, no one in my life has known or referenced the Ashkenazy Jews (or Factor 11 for that matter). So I raced to get on the website to see what I could learn. They offer you a few packages that will read your DNA and trace your lineage (for a fee). I was bummed at the poor timing as there was one "Maternal DNA Package" offered. If I had only known about this a few short weeks ago, I could have gotten my mother's actual DNA for the test. And since I have no way to get DNA from anyone on my father's side, I am left to my own interpretation or fantasy about my ethnic heritage.

The painful irony is that all my life I have wanted to know and have family. Raised as an only child by a single mom, without siblings, it has been so frustrating. "I (feel) depraved on accounta I was deprived." I could be related to Thomas Jefferson, Marie Antoinette or even the Romanovs. Now I am an only child dba as an orphan. "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child..." Waaaah.


Anonymous said…
When is the service? Stacy and I would like to come up and support you(Jim too, if he can get off work) We will understand if you want to keep it private, whether we are there in body, we will be with you in spirit.
Lots of Love
Thomas Jefferson, Marie Antoinette, The Romanovs...or Jesus?
ellie said…
Why do they need a parent's DNA? Why can't they just use yours?

I'm related to Paul Revere and am 1/32nd Algonquin Indian. My maternal grandpa is into geneology.
Anonymous said…
I've heard that you can analyze DNA from any part of a persons body. Even something as small as a hair follicle.

Richie Havens....Yes!

I'm half Norwegian, half Heinz 57.
Just a good ol red blooded American boy. };-)

Lia Amidechat said…
Last year on PBS there was a program about African Americans seeking their ancestry. Oprah was one of the seekers. She used a service where they took DNA from her mouth and she found out that she was 13% Native American and 87% African from some tribe near present day Ghana. They didn't need her parents' DNA, just hers. Here's the URL: http://www.dnaancestryproject.com/

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