Many thanks to Elizabeth Warren for the recent attention drawn to DNA testing. While I have no interest in the political debate over all that, my interest in genealogy led me to explore this some years ago.
If Senator Warren is between 1/64 and 1/1024 Native American good for her. That’s anywhere from a third great-grandparent to an eighth great-grandparent. I have old photographs of relatives whose appearance (very dark hair, high cheekbones) made family highly suspect Native American blood. Sorry, though, DNA says no. So, no special treatment for my crowd at Harvard or anywhere else.
But DNA says I’m around 4% Neanderthal. Are there no affirmative action programs or preferential admits for that? Discrimination!
When I got the report about Neanderthal DNA, a close (very close) family member said, “You might want to be retested. It’s got to be more than that.” Yeah. Thanks.
Well, the Neanderthal ancestry does explain the unusually thick skin on the back of my knuckles. I’ve long been said to be thick-headed, too. Now I know why. I’m blaming DNA and claiming victim status for that.
DNA testing is sophisticated enough to offer all kinds of information. I’m informed that I am predisposed to weigh less. I weigh more than I ever had but think if what I might weigh if I had different genes? I am less likely to sleep less deeply…bingo on that one. I am likely to consume more caffeine. Nope. And have an above average ability to smell asparagus. I may offer my services, for a fee, to those who are stalking wild asparagus. What good is quirky DNA if you can’t cash in on it?
DNA don’t lie brethren. Mine says I have an unusually high intolerance of chewing sounds. Yea and amen. I can’t stand someone smacking their chops at the table. My DNA will be my defense if I lose control, fly into a hot rage, and assault a gum-popper. Miscreant.
But the record shows I’m 99.6% European, mostly British. A splash of Scandinavian, Denmark, probably Viking raiders (I have gone beserk a time or two) and and also a pinch of Finnish. The latter explains why I have always loved the music of Jean Sibelius.
I could offer a tiny fraction of a percent as sub-Saharan African, and Asian, and west African, and Arabian. I’m like the guy who pulls out a wallet filled with credit cards. Whatever card works, I’ve got it. I come from a long line of people, no question about it.
My preference, though, is to claim descendancy from a crooked farmer named Adam and a drunken sailor named Noah (did you read my piece on plagiarism? I’m hereby officially crediting Adrian for that pithy statement) and my direct line goes straight to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You can’t get blood any more royal than that.
And don’t forget that 100 percent of us share a couple of things in common: None of us chooses our ancestors. All of us have either chosen Christ or not.
Get checked brethren. Let me know what you find.