LIFE

Mom Conducts 2 Different DNA Tests On Quadruplets To See If Ancestry Kits Really Work

by Emerald Pellot
Emerald is a writer, illustrator, and a Libra.

Amy Jones decided to use her quadruplets in an unusual DNA experiment.

It all started when the San Francisco mom took an ancestry test and discovered she was 35% Irish.

“I called my mother, I called my father, and I said, ‘Listen, we’re Irish!’” Amy recalled. “And they said, ‘Are we really?’ And I said, ‘That’s what it says. So, I’m assuming that’s right.’”

The info was shocking, so Amy wanted to see how accurate the test was. She decided to try separate DNA tests, using Ancestry DNA and 23andMe on her quadruplets.

Her quads are made up of a set of identical twins, Gabe and Seth, as well as fraternal twins, Katie and Hugh. The mom went though great efforts to remove any outside variables from the test. She made up fake names that implied different ethnic heritages and even mailed out the DNA samples from different cities.

The twins had nearly identical DNA. The fraternal twins had significant differences. For example, Katie was more British and Irish than her fraternal brother and twice as much as the twins.

However, DNA expert Dr. Ruth Ballard says this is to be expected — and that it demonstrates that both DNA tests are very accurate.

“You would expect there to be differences, and I would have been very surprised if this had come back without any,” she said.

Dr. Ruth added that identical twins would have nearly the same DNA while fraternal twins would have more variation. She said that Ancestry DNA and 23AndMe were very accurate and would continue to get more accurate with time.

However, she does caution consumers about one possible, unintended consequence: family drama.

When your DNA is entered into the database, it can reveal all kinds of secret family history — like paternity results and family members you may not have known existed. Some people might even be disappointed that their heritage isn’t what they were brought up to believe.

“Be prepared to find out something that may not be comfortable for you,” Dr. Ruth explained.

However, for the Jones family, this experiment was all in good fun.

“I thought that might be kinda fun to know where I come from… that’s all the information I’m seeking,” Amy said.

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