Aug 11, 2022 - News

My surprising DNA results

Illustration of a scientist pointing to a map with a double helix on it
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

👋 Hey, it's Sam. Getting my DNA results back this week has been a surreal experience.

Why it matters: A first and last name is all I've ever known about my biological father, so I purchased a kit from AncestryDNA to learn more about his family and whether I have siblings.

  • I became one of hundreds of thousands of people using mail-in DNA tests to trace lineage, find family members or learn more about where their ancestors are from.
  • One of the reasons I waited until now to do this was my apprehension to give my DNA to a private company. But AncestryDNA lets you decide if you want them to store your DNA sample, and I elected for mine to be destroyed.

The intrigue: I received an email last week prompting me to view my "DNA story" and ethnicity estimate, which shows which populations your DNA most looks like.

  • But it took me a few days to check my results — I was busy reporting on the primary election.
  • I took the test with no expectations but was all of a sudden nervous knowing what I was likely to find.

What happened: My first matches had the same last name as my biological father. Ancestry allows you to message matches directly on the website and after a few days of messaging, I learned I have siblings — at least three sisters.

  • After tweeting about learning that I have siblings, I received a number of messages from followers who had also received life-altering information from using the service.

What I'm watching: Whether I will ever share more than DNA with these people remains to be seen — I'm just thankful to have made contact after spending 25 years wondering if I would ever get this far.

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