Discussion by: QuestioningKat
As I child, I was envious of other kids mentioning their diverse heritage/nationalities. Kids would proudly list off that they were German, Italian, English, Irish and Cherokee or something exotic along those lines. As a child who dreamed of traveling, my second generation German/Slovak American nationality seemed boring and lacking in diversity. I've since learned that I have a bit of French and often suspect (hope) that there is something like Mongolian or Chinese in the mix. It would be nice to know.
My father is turning 93 and has had very few health issues throughout his life. I'm not sure how much longer he has to live; my guess is not much. I've often suspected that he could have been someone who lives beyond 100 if he took better care of himself – didn't drink, smoke when younger, and avoided the junk food. Yep, people are amazed someone could be so abusive to their body and be so lucky. We all know that it is genetics. His ancestors were living well into their 80s a couple hundred years ago. I hope I have his luck, but I seem to have have several health issues (like my deceased mother) at an even younger age.
I recall Richard had his genome mapped some time ago and think this is something I would like to do. (under the table without the insurance companies sticking their nose into it) I've noticed several online DNA/ancestry tests usually around $99 and a bit more. Sounds intriguing and fishy at the same time. How reliable are mass consumer DNA tests? What is the current state of science for testing the general population. What are limitations of DNA/genome mapping? I would assume that they could only partially test for certain diseases or certain ancestries, correct? Perhaps one test looks for a certain ancestry while another test is designed for a completely different group (?) I would assume they might be a bit "sloppy" and have false positives or false negatives, correct or not? Is accurate, affordable DNA/genome mapping, etc. truly available at this point in time? How much of a possibility is there that this type of testing could fall into the pseudoscience/scam category?
Also, what are your views on this type of testing? Are these $99 testing packages being ethical? Are they intentionally appealing to certain groups such as those with African ancestry in order to make a buck without fully providing a through "historical" test? It is certainly appealing to me to have my DNA and my father's DNA tested – then subtracted to get a separate "picture" of my mother's DNA and heritage. Time of course is ticking.
Do you personally want to be tested to know your medical susceptibility to certain diseases? (Consider the measures that Angelina Jolie took to prevent breast cancer.) Would it be worth it to you?