For Christmas I ordered DNA tests. What piqued my interest was a friend who discovered through Ancestry.com that his grandfather wasn’t really his grandfather. The real grandfather turned out to be a doctor who lived in the same town as my friend’s grandmother for a three-year period, during which time my friend’s father was born.
“I always wondered why the rest of my family was good looking and dumb, while I’m ugly and smart,” my friend said. He looks just like pictures of his real grandfather, the doctor.
Upon receiving our kits, my husband and I swabbed the inside of our mouths with the toothbrush-like bristles provided in the kit, then sent off our saliva and waited for eight weeks.
The results surprised us, not because of where our genetics told us we were from, but because our DNA indicated we are almost identical.
He is 27.8% Finnish and I am 27.7% Finnish.
I am 11.9% Toscani Italian and he is 10.1% Toscani Italian.
We both have Puerto Rican, Peruvian, Colombian and Mexican traces of DNA. In virtually the same amounts.
The results sounded suspicious to me.
“Did you get our DNA mixed up when you put the brushes in the kit?” I asked.
“I did exactly what the instructions said,” my husband replied.
I’m still suspicious…
My husband’s family has always celebrated their Scottish ancestry, to the point where his parents used to drag us with them to annual Scottish rallies complete with kilts, bagpipes and weird cousins.
Where was the Scottish ancestry in his DNA results? Is Scotland close enough to Finland to account for the Finnish genes? Were his parents wrong?
As for my genes, my mother declares I’m British with a dose of Native American. When I told her the test results, which didn’t include Native American, she said “That’s bullshit. You’re part Cherokee Indian.” (Please excuse Mama’s use of the word Indian as opposed to Native American or Indigenous people. She’s 98 years old and isn’t about to change).
Since I was thrown into confusion over this whole genetic thing, I decided to do what I always do when confronted with a dilemma posed by insufficient information. I googled “husbands and wives who have identical genes.”
My google search led me to an article that said people tend to choose spouses who have similar DNA. Researchers examined the genetic blueprint of 825 U.S. married couples and found a significant preference for a spouse with DNA similarities across the entire human genome.
But I still had questions.
Were these couples in the study randomly picked?
How similar was their DNA? As similar as mine and my husband’s?
Does DNA change over time, so that we grow to be more like the person we’re with, kind of like pets that start to look like their humans? No, scratch that one. DNA doesn’t change with the environment, I don’t think.
As usually happens when I start googling stuff on the internet, I chased a hundred different rabbit trails dealing with genetics until I ran across this gem:
Husband and wife discover they are biological twins after IVF clinic performs routine DNA test.
According to the article, a husband and wife went to a fertility clinic to find out why they couldn’t conceive. A routine DNA sample was taken from both the male and the female, and the similarity of the profiles shocked the lab assistant. When the doctor checked the patient profile and discovered they had the same birthdays, he realized the husband and wife must be biological twins.
The couple had met in college and hit if off due to their similar backgrounds. They had both been adopted after their parents died.
I was fascinated by this story.
Did the couple stay married?
Did they still want to have children?
Could they face criminal charges for incest?
But as I chased more rabbit trails and googled further, I found out the story was FAKE NEWS!
That’s right. Snopes said the whole thing was made up. One newspaper published the story and other newspapers without checking any sources reprinted it over and over again until it was all over the internet.
Maybe my husband and I will find out we’re the only set of married twins. Except that we know who our parents are, even if we aren’t sure where they came from.
I still think the DNA similarity is suspect, so I’ve ordered another DNA kit from a different company. I asked my husband if he wanted to have his DNA tested again, but he said he was sticking with Finland.
Regardless of what the new test turns up, I feel sure of one thing. All of us are a fascinating mix of genes from all over the world. People migrated from place to place and fell in love and married and had kids who perpetuated the glorious mixture that makes us who we are.