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DNA testing

Elizabeth Warren and the progressive war on science

Here’s a reasonable take on Warren’s DNA results: Using this data, the original analysis, which was prepared by a respected geneticist, determined that five segments of Sen. Warren’s DNA — totaling about 12.3 million bases (“letters”) — are of Native American ancestry. That might sound like a lot, but the human genome contains more than 3.2 billion bases, which means that only about 0.4% of Sen. Warren’s DNA sequence can be attributed to Native American ancestry. Thus, the vast, vast majority of her DNA is of European descent. Though her pedigree probably contains a Native American ancestor, he or she existed six to ten generations ago. If a generation is roughly 25 years, that means that Sen. Warren’s (possibly one Read More ›

Does DNA testing keep alive ideas that “deserve to die”?

An anthropologist asks: Now go even further back in time to the 17th or 18th century. The number of folks on average living then who could have contributed to your genetic endowment is so large (more than 1,000), and their possible genetic contribution so small (about 0.098 percent for 10 generations back), it would be smoke and mirrors to assert claims about who they were in person. In fact, most of these people left no trace of themselves in your genome. In short, while it can be hard to get your head around the statistics involved, go back more than a few thousand years and you are genealogically related to almost everyone on Earth. Genetically speaking, however, very few of these Read More ›