A recent article was published by the New York Times which analyzed the reactions of individuals’ biased and prejudicial reactions to DNA testing when they received results
that contradicted their own family history knowledge. Through the work of a study, it was found that often times, an individual’s bias is more powerful than their actual attempt to look for factual knowledge. Examples given went along the lines of testers giving explanations or excuses for why their results were “incorrect” when they did not exactly correlate with what the testers assumed to expect or wanted to find. It calls a large deal of the supposed “skepticism” against DNA testing into question—are some of the complaints listed throughout the general public a result of faulty science, or an angry customer? There was a blog posted a few months ago which looked at the holes of the Marketplace analysis on DNA testing. While they were using distinct parameters to build their case, the main argument against their conclusions was namely that while there are flaws present within the science behind these tests, science can improve with greater sample sizes, improved algorithms, etc. Science attempts to seek facts. Therefore, just as it is flawed reasoning to dismiss DNA tests completely due to a few imperfections, it is wrong to look for loop holes in an attempt to prove that an individual’s test had errors in it because they hoped they were 100% European, rather than 75%. While it may appear to be clear for the majority of the lay public, these tests do not (and should not) seek to “impress” customers with what customers “ought” to be. Rather, they should be using the science and tools at their disposal to estimate the most likely ethnic breakdown of their customers for the time being.