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Playing the Devil's Advocate - Worst Case Scenarios in DNA Testing..?

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  • Playing the Devil's Advocate - Worst Case Scenarios in DNA Testing..?

    I actually wanted to post this up under "success stories" but decided against it. But the concern is a genuine one. So often we hear of "success stories" in genetic testing. But i'm interested to know if anyone has ever encountered someone who did a test and got results that were totally unexpected (in the negative sense..)

    I'm sure such cases will leave such a deep psychological impact in the affected person.. How can he/she deal with such an impact?

    Additionally, who stands to lose out most from genetic testing..?

  • #2
    It's interesting that your very first post on this forum questions the potential downsides of DNA testing. If I were skeptic, I'd suspect a troll.

    Tell us about the testing that you have done, or are considering doing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by abbask View Post
      who stands to lose out most from genetic testing..?
      I dunno: parents who lie to their children, spouses who lie to each other, and prejudiced people who discover through testing they are part of the very community they hate?

      Comment


      • #4
        Surprisng Results

        @abbask

        Do you know someone who was shocked by their results?

        Could be pretty unsettling if the news contadicted what they had believed to be true all their lives.

        A friend of mine has adopted the philosophy that she is who she is regardless of what she may find... and she has enough truly unknowns, it could be anything.

        Another friend of mine was adopted. She found a 1/2 sister on the internet. I saw her go through a whole series of emotions over many months. She had been trying to find them for literally decades, and it was still a difficult transition.

        Someone making a "negative" discovery would need an outlet where they feel safe in discussing these feelings. A solid group of friends who may or may not know about the revelation and can reinforce positives, so the person would feel secure in themselves even while digesting the news. Perhaps even counseling depending on the specifics of why it is negative.

        Emotions are tricky, and often not "logical". Genealogy sometimes leads to mixed feelings about what is found... This comes out even on the TV show "Who Do You Think You Are?" Family research reveals tragedies and triumphs for us all.

        Hard to say more without more detail.

        Who has the most to lose from the testing? May depend on your personal stance on the value of knowing the truth about your own origins.

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        • #5
          I know I cried when I saw the bill .

          Seriously though, this testing can be very expensive.
          Most testing web sites list many things to consider including emotional impact before you test. This may hold true for this web site but since I never checked I don't know.

          Comment


          • #6
            From experience, I can tell you that not all handle the information alike. We recently located three half-sisters to my half-sister. None of the sisters had previously been aware of the others, except that the youngest was vaguely aware of siblings from a previous relationship of her father.

            The first (oldest) was exstatic to find that she had sisters. Unfortunately my half-sister is deceased, but the other two are alive and well.

            The second (middle) refused to even respond to the information.

            The third (youngest) was very responsive at first, but after a few conversations refused to continue to respond. And this was without knowing much at all about any of the other sisters.

            Both the oldest and the youngest had made efforts in the past to research their father's past and to locate additional paternal relatives. Their father was more of an enigma than a father. Only the youngest spent any time with him (8 years before he left her). It would be very correct to call him only a sperm donor.

            Anyway, everyone seems to handle genealogical information differently.

            I am adopted and I believe that I am close to locating my biological father. I have contacted another son of the possible bio-dad and even though he has only had one conversation with his father in 61 years (his dad is still living) he is now waffling on taking a YDNA test that might show he and I to be half-brothers. I have even paid for the test and had it sent to him.

            So who knows, everyone is different.

            Comment


            • #7
              Male relatives who refuse to supply a sample (even if I offer to pay) which would help me understand some of my matches that don't match the official paper trail.

              Seems they are either:
              - Keen on doing perceived duty to grandparents .... letting 'sleeping dogs lie'.
              - Really really uninterested in geneology.

              Also finding clues with matches - emailing the matches and receiving no reply
              * grrhh*

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by abbask View Post

                I'm sure such cases will leave such a deep psychological impact in the affected person.. How can he/she deal with such an impact?
                Just in case this is a serious question. . .

                I'm a psychologist and I never make assumptions about what does or does not have "deep psychological impact" on someone. People are as varied in their psychological make-up as they are in their genetic make-up.

                Naturally, it's important to use tact and sensitivity when you approach someone with unexpected findings, especially if they might raise difficult issues.

                In my own case, I've had some unexpected (and hard to explain) NA or ME results from Population Finder. For me, this is fascinating. But it did lead me to wonder about a "non parental event" in connection with my maternal grandmother's birth.

                When I raised this (cautiously!) with my 87-year-old mother, I didn't know what to expect. But she was excited. For her, it was validating, since it made sense of some things she'd always wondered about in her family. Now she wants to get tested herself.

                Of course, it helps that my mother is a liberal, open-minded person who has always admired people of Jewish and indigenous heritage. She would be proud if she shared some of this herself.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks everyone for the replies.

                  Originally posted by gtc View Post
                  It's interesting that your very first post on this forum questions the potential downsides of DNA testing. If I were skeptic, I'd suspect a troll.
                  I assure you i was intending on being a troll! Lol! Neither am i a skeptic of DNA testing. But the concerns i raised were valid ones. I come from a community where genetic testing is still very much a novel idea. I came across it by coincidence somewhat. I did my test at first with Ancestry and upon careful consideration and recommendations, i'm now testing with FTDNA. But as we know, the results (and matches) will only be more refined with an expansion of the pool of testers from within the community.

                  So i'm trying to expand the pool, but at the same time very cautious about the approach i take, especially since there might be conservatives and skeptics amongst potential testers. And i'd like to be sure that i can provide some kind of support should they find the results confounding or disturbing.. Off the top of my head, i know a few individuals who claim descent from family of "noblity" but may be proven otherwise. Hence the question..

                  Besides, i also thought those who experienced frustration, disappointment or such emotions deserve a chance to tell their stories as well instead of just being drowned by all the success stories..

                  @JPHutchins In any case, good luck with the upcoming test

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bkilpatrick View Post
                    Just in case this is a serious question. . .

                    I'm a psychologist and I never make assumptions about what does or does not have "deep psychological impact" on someone. People are as varied in their psychological make-up as they are in their genetic make-up.

                    Naturally, it's important to use tact and sensitivity when you approach someone with unexpected findings, especially if they might raise difficult issues.

                    In my own case, I've had some unexpected (and hard to explain) NA or ME results from Population Finder. For me, this is fascinating. But it did lead me to wonder about a "non parental event" in connection with my maternal grandmother's birth.

                    When I raised this (cautiously!) with my 87-year-old mother, I didn't know what to expect. But she was excited. For her, it was validating, since it made sense of some things she'd always wondered about in her family. Now she wants to get tested herself.

                    Of course, it helps that my mother is a liberal, open-minded person who has always admired people of Jewish and indigenous heritage. She would be proud if she shared some of this herself.
                    Something doesn't add up here. Your tag line says half Scottish (apparently paternal) and half Slovenian (apparently maternal). How could a Slovenian born grandmother have true Native American ancestry? Are you proposing that there was a wandering American who was the cause of all this? A .3% NA is well within the noise range. I have NA ancestry well documented but way back and obtained 1.3% NA on the McDonald testing and he still assessed it as noise. Does his segment analysis show greeen segments which he has called as true? Also, it is common for Europeans to share genetic affiliation with those from the Middle East. This would be even more true of someone from Slovenia, just based on geography alone.

                    Did Dr. McDonald suggest that these findings might be of some significance? I am always very wary about tossing out a genealogy on the basis of soft genetic findings. If your results showed 5% Native American my take on all this would be entirely different.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      @DKF: The short answer is yes, he did feel one NA spot was "small but strong" and probably not "noise" despite the small overall percentage.

                      A possible explanation, via Dr. McDonald: NA can also reflect "Saami-rich Finnish." (The Saami are the indigenous people of N. Scandinavia.) This is a possibility, given what I know of my family history.

                      I've posted about this in another thread:
                      http://forums.familytreedna.com/showthread.php?t=29064

                      Here, I was just using it as an example of how people might respond to potential unexpected findings that opened new possibilities.

                      Best,

                      Blair

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        ^ Another thing about your results, bkilpatrick, is that the low percentage of Middle East in all likelihood does not indicate any Jewish ancestry, but rather suggests that your genetic spot on a world map is precisely that percentage towards the Near East relative to the Isles. This spot is entirely consistent with a mix of NW Euro and Central Euro ancestry.

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                        • #13
                          Seems a number of people have suddenly gone from 100% European to having a small ME percentage. I think we need to take it with many grains of salt, at this stage.

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                          • #14
                            How Useful is a Family Finder Test?

                            Seems some of you mentioned autosomal tests done under family finder? My question is how useful are these tests for a person of non-American/non-European origin? As it is, i have only ONE 12-marker match on y-search (i'm still waiting for my results with FTDNA) so will a Family Finder be useful for someone like myself?

                            Btw, is Family Finder=Population Finder?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by abbask View Post
                              Btw, is Family Finder=Population Finder?
                              No, Population Finder is an adjunct to Family Finder.

                              You can read about FF and PF here:

                              http://www.familytreedna.com/landing/family-finder.aspx

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