A Chicago-area woman wanted to test the accuracy of the popular DNA tests that are supposed to find your family history, but when she mailed away her DNA, the results she got were vastly different from each other.
Jennifer Smith was interested in her family ancestry, so she tried out a DNA kit from Ancestry.com, but was shocked when her breakdown showed that she was 97 percent European and 2 percent Asian.
“I’m a Black girl; I am not a Jewish white lady,” Smith told Fox32 Chicago, recalling her utter confusion at her results.
However, when Smith contacted Ancestry.com, she was told that “there was no way they could have made an error.”
So, Smith decided to try something else, using 23andMe, this time getting results that showed she was 70 percent Sub-Saharan African.
“The results were very different, but they were not a surprise to me,” Smith said.
Smith said that she was frustrated with the reports, saying, “Both kits can’t be right; one of them has to be wrong.
William Gilliland, an associate biology professor at Depaul University, explained that “DNA tests for ethnicity are entertainment value only,” noting that while DNA tests can connect you to family members, there is no solid DNA marker or “diagnostic nucleotide” for race.
Ancestry.com has since said that it’s likely that Smith’s results were mixed up with someone else’s when the tube was sent in, and 23andMe noted that different companies use different algorithms, so even if there was no mixup, there can still be variation.