social progress

Whitewashed DNA: Inclusivity Gaps and the Complicated Story of DNA Testing

As ancestry DNA tests like MyTrueAncestry or 23andMe gain in popularity, the gaps in their data and findings become increasingly more apparent.

While a DNA test can be a fun way for someone of European descent to find out where their European ancestors are from, people of color end up with confusing, conflicting, and unreliable results.

One of the biggest problems with DNA testing sites is the lack of diverse DNA samples. Without sufficient sample pools, drawing reliable conclusions is all but impossible.

Lack of Diverse Sample Pools

To compound this problem, there’s a serious miscommunication about what your DNA results mean:

The further back you go on the family tree, the higher the probability of coming across an ancestor from whom you received zero DNA.

DNA Ancestry Is Not Heritage

For people of color, this means your genetic report could be less than accurate and you might lack the resources or supplementary records to fill in the missing data.

Solving this would require the entire medical community to start making a concerted effort to include more diverse subjects in their studies.

Lack of Medical Research

As the landscape currently looks, people of color are regularly excluded by the simple fact that researchers don’t actively reach out to communities of color.

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