WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/897427

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Page 116 of 195

customer she sees. In the past, many would come with an understand- ing of the process and with a specific question or roadblock that came up during their search. Now, she notes, people often come in with an expectation that their research can be easily accessed and handed to them, as this is often the way television portrays the process. * * * Business is skyrocketing for companies that offer DNA tests, which promise to determine a customer's heritage and, with permission, to identify genetic relatives. There are many from which to choose, includ- ing 23andMe, Ancestry, and MyHeritage. A growing number of people are sending saliva samples to laborato- ries to unlock their genetic backgrounds. According to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, nearly 8 million people worldwide, but mostly in the United States, have tested their DNA through kits, often costing less than $100, though some are as high as $1,000 or more. DNA ancestry results are based on a few different types of DNA. There are 23 pairs of chromosomes. The most popular DNA-deciphering approach, autosomal DNA testing, looks at genetic material inherited from both parents on the first 22 chromosome pairs (the 23rd pair determines your sex). Since you inherit about half of this type of DNA from each parent, it reflects ancestry from both sides of your family tree. Y chromosome DNA and mitochondrial DNA can also be tested. The Y chromosome is passed from fathers to sons and traces only the paternal line. Mitochondrial DNA is passed only by mothers to their children and traces the maternal line. There are a variety of reasons for pursuing DNA testing. Customers may want to explore their ethnicity, connect with unknown relatives, assess genetic risk for certain medical conditions, or even find out how much Neanderthal DNA they have. 115 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8 Researching Your Family

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