Scott Fisher, the host of the syndicated family history radio show and podcast Extreme Genes, talked earlier this month with 23andMe’s Senior Director of Research Joanna Mountain.
For this episode, Fischer and Joanna spoke again about ancestry features focusing in on some of the more common questions from customers. Fischer previously spoke with 23andMe population geneticist Kasia Byrc, PhD, about some of the science behind DNA testing, and he will continue to feature an expert from 23andMe on his show each month to delve into the ins and out of DNA testing for ancestry purposes.
Talking to Joanna, Fisher learned that many customers from the United States have family stories about Native American ancestry and they often test with 23andMe to explore that side of their family history.
“Sometimes they find it in the DNA, but sometimes it’s not there,” Joanna said during the show.
That doesn’t always mean that those family stories are wrong, but that the Native American ancestry has been lost over the generations, Joanna said. The DNA evidence might not be there anymore but there may still be cultural evidence of that ancestry. Fischer also asked about adoptees and what typically motivates them to test.
“Actually they have a lot of the same questions (as other customers),” Joanna said. But for adoptees, testing is often the only option to find out some very basic information, like their ancestry, said Joanna, who oversees research projects and the development of ancestry product offerings at 23andMe.
The show also featured David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors, Sarah O’Connor of GeneArtistry.com, and Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com.
Check out the podcast here.