Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Well ok

My sister's DNA test tells us that she is 88% Asian and 12% Native American. I'm generally conflicted about my ethnic identity. Now I'm just confused. If she was alive, Ba-chan might have some explaining to do right about now.

2 comments:

Laurel said...

I have been dying to do one of these, and am curious about your sister's experience! Did she do the one where it's just her DNA, that is, where it only traces female relatives, or did she somehow coerce your dad into participating? What motivated her to do it? So intrigued!

disreputable bird said...

From what little I understand, the results are based on distribution of alleles among four population groups: East Asian, Native American, sub-Saharan African, and European. But migration and interaction also factor in. For example, one of the FAQs posits a person who thought he was of purely Scandinavian origin and got back results showing minor East Asian admixture. The explanation says the admixture is probably due to past migrations in both directions and subsequent interactions.

She also found some info on gene frequencies. Researchers at a Tokyo university discovered that Ainu and Native American groups share an allele or haplotype, while another was common among indigenous Taiwanese, Maori, a northeastern Chinese group, and two northern Native American groups. The researchers interpret this to suggest a genetic link between East Asians and Native Americans.

Considering that the Ainu once occupied Honshu as well as Hokkaido, and were thought to be white by anthropologists who first encountered them (fair skin, curly hair, round eyes), isn't it possible that the physical characteristics we assumed were a European contribution came instead from this East Asian group? A long, long time ago? Anyway, there wasn't a trace of European markers in her results. So maybe Ba-chan's off the hook...