DNA

DNAnigma: Autosomalgeddon; or, “Them’s that got shall have. Them’s that not shall lose.”

Day 2. Ancestry DNA has rolled out its better “mousetrap.” A new and “improved” way of identifying genetic relationships. I dropped from 80 pages of matches to 17. I lost a known 4th cousin (whom I match at 23andme, FTDNA and Gedmatch). I’ve lost nearly all the distant Euro-descended matches that lent credence to speculation about some of my white ancestors. I’ve lost all but three “shaky leaf” shared ancestor hints. I have no Circles. I’ve gained some new matches. Most have private trees or no tree at all. None have shaky leaves. None share my surnames.

This is not a win.

I knew the new analysis would disproportionately negatively impact non-whites, adoptees or those who otherwise have limited information about their ancestry, and I’m waiting vainly for an authoritative acknowledgment of that fact. All I’m seeing are cheery reassurances that this really is for the greater good, you’ll see. These comments seem blind to the realness of the loss of so-called “false negatives.”  This is privilege on display. For people whose genealogies descend in orderly, documented ranks, free from slavemaster paternity or undocumented marginalized others — onward and upward.

For the rest of us?  This is not a win.

 

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