GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-11 > 1069712407
From: "Debby Peare" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Re: NIGHTLINE via ABCNEWS - DNAPrint
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 17:20:07 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)
A picture of Mr. Joseph was posted via this List. His phenotype is that of
an African - American. If I saw him walking along the streets of LA, I would
not even question the assumption. He was raised as an African - American,
his phenotype clearly suggests some African ancestry, and we are to take the
word of one DNA test that there is no genetic basis for his self -
identification as such.
I watched it and believe me, he doesn't look a bit like he's African in any
way except for a wide nose.... but that's not just an African trait.
To me, he looks more like a cross between an Indian (from India) and a
Native American. It also showed his mother who looked very much like a light
skinned Indian (from India) with some Caucasian mixed in. I would never had
even guessed any African blood in her at all.
Has no one clued into the reality that the DNAPrint test is "quirky". It
seems to be dead on for some people (perhaps due to coincidence), but for
others is obviously off by a considerable margin (e.g., finding Native
American in Europeans; and East Asian in almost anyone). Does Mr. Joseph not
question the validity or reliability of the test because it is "science" and
has proven its worth in forensic cases? So now he is Indo - European and
Native American period. I don't think so and would recommend mt and Y DNA
testing (has this been done?) - but even here it is a hit and miss
proposition. I am rather hamstrung in not having seen the broadcast, but I
trust that his genealogical roots have been adequately assessed via a clear
Now, to continue my first response above.....no way do I think, based on my
observations from the TV report, would I think his DNA was quirky in any way
In fact, I think he & his mother was under incorrect info on what race they
were, and his DNA just proved it. This is why it's SO great to have this
test available, because you just can't tell (every time) by the color of
your skin what race you are.
None of this makes sense - they are putting far too much emphasis on the
results of one (controversial) test. There is a parallel in some of the work
I used to do, which included assessment of personality for Court. There is
an excellent test for the purpose - one I had come to rely on. But I was
taught to never, never put too much emphasis on any single measure - only on
a battery of tests, and if the results all pointed in the same direction
then this offered clear support of a diagnosis.
It does make sense if you throw away preconceived notions of what is race.
Even though the test does have bugs and will have to be honed, doesn't mean
that the WHOLE test is wrong. The percentages are what is MOST OFTEN the
culprit, not the different "race" labels. I know, East Asian in a lot of
people sounds looney..... but, it doesn't mean that it can't be. After all,
coming out from Africa, the area hardest hit was East Asia.
The problem seems to be that the "race" categories we have now, are broad.
Once this test is honed, and more DNA is collected to be added to the
databases, I think you'll find that these categories will be more refined
and descriptive and will change the older results to more clearer pictures
of what the person is. The other problem I see..... is that people are just
SO adamant of who they are by physical traits that they often lose sight of
something much deeper..... the person within. Blood never lies..... where
people often do (skeletons in closets stories, adoptions, adultery, etc).
And a paper trail does NOTHING when a mother says a particular father is
your father, when maybe the milkman was, but no one ever knew and would
stake their lives it couldn't have happened.
We just need better tests to read this blood better.... and it will come,
because past has taught us that (DNA testing has gotten better in criminal
matters for example) it will. So, for now, the emphasis is on THIS test....
until another better one comes along. For now, let's not throw the still
dirty baby out with bath water...... let's just see how we can better clean
Warm Regards from Maine,