DNA test kits can reveal family surprises


AT HOW A DNA TEST CHANGED ONE
NEW HAMPSHIRE WOMAN’S LIFE. JENNIFER: MARY WEBBER WAS A TEEN
WHEN SHE GAVE A BABY GIRL UP FOR
ADOPTION. 45 YEARS LATER SHE AND HER
SIBLINGS WERE LOSING HOPE OF
FINDING HER. THAT IS, UNTIL A NURSE FROM
WAS GIVEN A DNA KIT BY HER
ADOPTIVE FATHER.>>ADOPTIVE FATHER. MY DAD STRONGLY ENCOURAGED ME,
HE SAID YOU SHOULD DO THIS MAYBE
YOU WOULD FIND YOUR BIOLOGICAL
PARENTS. JENNIFER: RESULTS SHOWED CLOSE
GENETIC MATCHES TO MARY’S SON
AND HER AUNT, SO ANGELA SENT A
MESSAGE TO THE STRANGERS.>>I GOT A CALL FROM MY BROTHER
GEORGE, TOLD ME TO LOG IN TO
FACEBOOK TO LOOK AT ANGELA.>>I WAS NERVOUS, WHAT IF I FIND
HER, WHAT IF SHE DOESN’T WANT TO
KNOW ME? JENNIFER: THAT WAS FEBRUARY,
THEIR RELATIONSHIP HELPED BY
PHONE CALLS, FACE TIME, AND
EMAIL. ANGELA’S COME TO NEW HAMPSHIRE
SEVERAL TIMES, INCLUDING A
FAMILY REUNION IN JULY.>>IT IS EXCITING. IT IS A BIG FAMILY. I CAME WHEN MY ADOPTED FAMILY
WAS SMALL. SO IT’S A LOT DIFFERENT FOR ME. JENNIFER: A FAMILY SOMEWHAT
UNWITTINGLY GIVEN THE GIFT OF
CONNECTION.>>I BOUGHT THE KIT FOR MY SON
BECAUSE HE WAS JUST CURIOUS
ABOUT HIS HERITAGE. AND I HAD NO IDEA AT THAT TIME
THAT HE WOULD MATCH UP TO
ANGELA. JENNIFER: THE SCIENCE OF DNA
ISN’T NEW, BUT ACCESS TO IT IS. KITS LIKE THIS ONE ARE MAILED
DIRECT TO CONSUMERS, WHO SPIT IN
A VIAL AND THEN MAIL IT OFF. THE CHAIR OF THE ETHICS
DEPARTMENT AT DARTMOUTH
HITCHCOCK MEDICAL CENTER CALLS
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THESE
COMPANIES DIZZYING, FROM RACIAL
BACKGROUNDS, TO BIOLOGICAL FAMILY, EVEN MEDICAL
INFORMATION. SOMETIMES WITH SURPRISES.>>I THINK IN MOST CASES,
LEARNING ABOUT YOUR GENETICS AND
LEARNING IF YOU ARE AT RISK FOR
ONE CANCER OR ANOTHER IS A GOOD
THING. IT’S INFORMATION YOU CAN TALK TO
YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT. JENNIFER: BUT A DOCTOR-ORDERED
TEST HAS EXPECTATIONS OF
CONFIDENTIALITY. HE CALLS THE COLLECTION OF
INFORMATION FROM DNA KITS
ANALOGOUS TO POSTING YOUR MOST
PRIVATE INFORMATION ON FACEBOOK.>>CAN THEY GIVE IT TO LAW
ENFORCEMENT? CAN THEY GIVE IT TO ANOTHER
COMPANY? BECAUSE I THINK THAT’S A RISK TO
YOUR PRIVACY. COULD YOU LOSE INSURANCE
COVERAGE BECAUSE SOME
INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR GENETIC
BACKGROUND WAS RELEASED TO THE
WRONG INSURANCE COMPANY? JENNIFER: GENETIC TESTING CAN
UNCOVER FAMILY SECRETS.>>A MAN COULD DISCOVER THAT A
CHILD THAT HE THINKS IS HIS
CHILD ACTUALLY IS THE CHILD OF
ANOTHER MAN. THIS IS A NOT UNCOMMON THING IN
FAMILIES AROUND THE WORLD. SOMETIMES SECRETS LIKE THAT CAN
BE UNCOVERED THROUGH GENETIC
TESTING. JENNIFER: BUT IT’S A SCIENCE NOW
READILY AVAILABLE

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