Americans who feel more secure about their inheritance, like recent immigrants and their children, tend to reject offers of DNA tests, which affects databases in the country, revealed today a new study from Stanford University, in California.
The report “(Un) consumer interest in the tests of genetic ancestry: the roles of race, immigration and ancestral certainty” found that people who feel more secure of their heritage are less likely to participate in these tests because they believe that they know the results, even if the data they have about their ancestry is not accurate.
Stanford University sociologist Aliya Saperstein, co-author of the study, explained that the closer people are to the migrant experience, the less interested they are in taking a DNA test from ancestors. “Those who identified themselves as Latinos were the ones least likely to have taken an ancestry test,” Saperstein told Efe about the study, which analyzed information from about 110,000 people in the United States.
Asian Americans have little interest in this kind of evidence, regardless of the number of generations that have lived in the country, and could affect the results of future analyzes carried out in data banks, Saperstein said. Both people with Korean or Chinese ancestors interviewed assured that they believed that their ancestry was 100% of their country of origin and that “it was extremely unlikely that they would mix with other ethnic groups.”
In contrast, the report, published in the scientific journal New Genetics & Society, found that Americans whose ancestors arrived in the country more than a hundred years ago tend to use more popular DNA tests, such as African-Americans, who identify themselves as multiracial. Saperstein noted that companies that promote DNA testing have focused on black communities that lost track of their origins due to the transatlantic slave trade.
Also in descendants of European immigrants who arrived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. “As each generation of European immigrants married, the specific ancestral links became more unknown, more distant and less prominent,” said Adam Horowitz, co-author of the study.
In recent years, DNA testing has become popular in the US and even the information in these databases has been used to solve criminal cases. In April of last year and after nearly 25 years of searching, California authorities identified Joseph James DeAngelo, 73, as the alleged perpetrator of 12 serial murders and more than 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80s.
A relative of DeAngelo had been tested and with this track the authorities managed to find the suspect’s whereabouts. Also in California, a 68-year-old single man took the test and, in addition to discovering his roots, learned that he was the father of a 40-year-old woman living in England.
Last month, detectives investigating a 40-year-old murder in Portland, Ore., Announced that they managed to identify the perpetrator thanks to the innovative genetic technology based on family trees. Saperstein argues that “it is important that people educate themselves about what genetic evidence can and can not reveal.” However, the sociologist stressed that “it would be ironic that people who are more secure from their ancestors are less likely to be represented in these databases.”