Week 13: DNA Testing Reading

The article discusses how DNA testing in the last few years has become more popular as tests become cheaper and more accurate.  The tests show the genetic composition of a person and breaks down a person’s ethnicity.  The article focuses on Alice Plebuch, a woman who had previously believed she was Irish only to discover she wasn’t.  After taking a DNA test she found out she was half Jewish, she was upset after receiving her results because she believed it was an error, however, after a second test she found out she was in fact half Jewish.  Plebuch then asked some of her family members to also get a DNA test done to see where the genes could have come from.  After other tests came back it was determined that her father was the one who must’ve been Jewish in one form or another.  After much research and digging into old records, Plebuch found out that her father and another baby had been switched at the hospital.  Her father was born of a Jewish family and the baby who went to the other family was Irish.  Plebuch discovered this after a woman had submitted her test and they found out their fathers were switched as babys.  

One thing I found especially interesting about this article was how big of an impact the results had on the families.  I understand that finding out that someone you know so well (your father) is not who you thought they were can be concerning, however, as the article mentions in the end Plebuch or her sisters wouldn’t have been born if it weren’t for the mix up at birth.  I think that the comment about her feeling jealousy after seeing the picture of the little boy on the horse because it should have been her father is interesting because it’s almost as if she wishes the past could be written when in reality if it had played out differently she or her family wouldn’t be here today. 

4 thoughts on “Week 13: DNA Testing Reading

  1. In this story’s case, I think you’re absolutely right. Finding out that your biological father was switched at birth and confused for the wrong ethnic group is certainly a doozy. It’s interesting to see what kinds of secrets lie beneath our own family history or to debate whether we should be uncovering them at all. I don’t think I noted the jealousy you were talking about with the woman, I thought it was more with her father, but I’m glad you brought it up. Do you think these family-altering shakeups will become more common in the coming years? Let me know!

  2. It is certainly disconcerting seeing how one mix up could have completely changed the course of all their lives and how the people they thought they were was not true. The article mentions how many families were negatively affected by the results of DNA tests. It makes me wonder why one be so hostile to people they are related to, I know the article mentions how some are relatives from relationships out of wedlock but that isn’t the fault of the person who was born from it. I was glad to read that Plebuch found a connection with the Benson family despite how emotionally taxing the revelation is. I also wonder how this affects people who find out they are not biologically related to relatives, I’ve always seen having relatives as based on emotional connections with people but I can see how difficult it is to recognize that you were never biologically related to someone. This feels like a new aspect of human relations and I wonder how much things will change in terms of how we see family and heritage.

  3. I also found it interesting that something as simple as a wristband (or lack thereof) changed the family dynamic after Plebuch found out. In this family’s case they were excited to be able to connect with their relatives, but this probably isn’t always the case. Even in this one, whether they took the results to be positive or negative, recreating what they thought of as their identity.

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