Thursday, July 16, 2009

DNA Testing Part 2 -- Adult Adoptee Perspective

What does DNA testing of this nature offer you or your child?

I guess it depends on who you talk to. I have contacted several adult Colombian adoptees about this issue. At least three of whom had pursued this type of testing and were willing to share their responses.

Here are their opinions -- luckily they kind of ran the gamut:

Adoptee #1 stated, "I have done the third kind of testing and it broke down exactly as you said - 4 groups and tells you the percentage of how much you are of a particular group. I was actually a little surprised at my results. I thought though, it might bring me some insight into myself, some peace perhaps, but it really didn't. I almost don't believe it. If it came out of a relative's mouth, then I might."

Adoptee #2 found it helpful, especially when searching for relatives and siblings, "My DNA is now in FamilyTreeDNA's database. I am a member of the "Adopted" project...I haven't found any relatives yet. Hope is alive, though. :)...I know there's been at least 1 set of siblings who were adopted separately from Colombia and found each other through DNA testing."

Adoptee #3 found that it gave her a sense of identity, "I knew so little about my birth and my birth family. It was like a big question mark. I was from Bogotá, Colombia. That is all I knew. Now, I can at least think I am part this and part that. It connected me to my roots and filled part of a void that I feel."

So, what is the catch? How accurate are the tests?

Well, the test's validity is only as good as the group they have to compare you to. So, for example, if I am a direct descendant of the Chibcha Indians, and the agency running my test has NO Chibcha descendants in their database, I may get really weird and not completely accurate results. (This is how I understand it at this point).


Therefore, the more people who add themselves to the database, the more accurate the model will become.

So, where do you go if you want to be tested (adult adoptee) or have your child tested. There are a number of agencies that will provide the service, however, based on the aforementioned problem, you would want to look for one that has a database (the larger the better) of Colombian samples.

In researching for this blog, I found that perhaps the best choice might be Family Tree DNA. Here's why: They have a Native American Ancestry group and have Colombian indigenous groups in their pool. Having indigenous Colombian groups would likely be important in determining your genetic heritage. They also have the Adoptee Project mentioned by Adoptee #2. Additionally, they have large European databases -- think Spanish Conquistadors.


However, before you haul off and send your sample to Family Tree DNA, you should also consider the National Geographic Genographic Project. Their results will only show your REALLY DEEP GENETIC Ancestry. You'll get a map of your genetic family's earliest migrations. If you have NO DESIRE to link yourself with others who share your common nearer genetic relatives, this would be the way to go. Currently, they are trying to promote their program to Latinos. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/genographic can provide a more accurate description, if you want to read more.


Adoptee #2 also mentioned the following about this test option: "Their Genographic project is designed specifically to help map the migration paths of humanity. The cost is about $107 including the shipping and the initial processing of the DNA. They have their DNA testing done through an agreement with Family Tree DNA, who also offer additional tests beyond what the National Geographic tests are looking for. I've had the initial test done, and am pondering having all the tests run. If we had enough people interested, with results in the Family Tree DNA database, we could probably have them create a group, for Colombian Adoptees, which could increase the chances of adopted relatives finding each other. " Definitely gives us something to think about.


The last option, and really, I am not sure how much to recommend them -- is DNAtribes. They have several hundred Colombian samples -- from Boyacá, Bogotá, and Caldas. I would say if you were not born in one of these areas you should not choose them.

http://www.dnatribes.com/

2 comments:

worlduponmyshoulders said...

I did the Genographic Project several years ago. It was pretty neat! After awhile I got curious about the Family Tree DNA site and started poking around. Slowly I started to put up some of the info I had about me and take down some of the privacy options (finding possible matches). Now, I've somehow found the guts to get the final (full) testing finished. I'm kind of nervous about it. I'm not sure if I want to keep my info open to matches or not. It's both exciting and nerve wracking to see what the results might be. On the one hand I'm thinking "hmm...I wonder what area/group(s) it might narrow me down to?" on the other "Maybe, they won't come up with anything at all." It's just sort of frustrating when everyone around me can trace back their history just by asking family (even if it's not exactly accurate. Like my adoptive mom and her relative arguing over where great great grandparents really originated from.) Maybe, when I get the results it won't seem like a big deal at all. I don't know.

I wish I knew how to get into the Adoption Project on Family Tree but since I went through the Genographic Project (and didn't seem to see the option when I upgraded ??) not sure if I still can somehow. I wish they made that less difficult.

Could be a 60 day wait.

worlduponmyshoulders said...

Doh! After a little bit of searching through Google I found the Adoption Project join page on FTDNA.

http://www.familytreedna.com/public/adopted/default.aspx