I have always found genetics fascinating. It amazes me how the genes that make each of us unique simultaneously tie us to our ancestors, even if we don’t know anything about them. Television shows such as Forensic Files should give all evildoers pause. The least bit of DNA evidence left at a crime scene can be used to prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – who perpetrated a crime, even years after the event. (Hear that evildoers? Just stop. Now.)
My own ancestry is a bit of a mystery. The genes for my red hair, fair skin, and blue eyes – heck, even my Type O blood – are all recessive, meaning that the gene for each had to come from both parents. Even though both of my parents carried these genes, I don’t look like either of them. My mother was a brown-eyed brunette while my father was a green-eyed blond who had gone grey before he turned thirty. Oh, and did I mention that my father tanned easily? Not me. I practically burst into flames if I go outside without my 50+ SPF sunscreen.
Easily sunburned me grew up and married a brown-haired, green-eyed man that, like my father, tans easily. I hoped that between my father’s genes and my husband’s, my children would inherit the darker skin tones. Simple, right? After all, the darker skin is the dominant gene. What happened? I gave birth to two fair-skinned, blue-eyed boys. One has red hair, one is blond. Ah, the roulette wheel that is genetics.
My physical characteristics are indicative of a European heritage. My maternal grandmother’s family originated in Germany. In fact, I still have family there. My maternal great-grandfather had red hair and family legend said that his family originated in Ireland. However, I have never been able to find any proof of that. My paternal grandmother had red hair, but I know less about my father’s family than I do my mother’s.
Imagine my thrill when Ancestry.com began advertising Ancestry DNA, a reasonably-priced DNA test that will tell you about your ethnic roots. OMG! I practically heard the angels singing. I dropped a lot of hints and my hubby gave me a test kit for Christmas. (Have I ever told you how awesome he is?) I couldn’t wait to send off my DNA sample (saliva) to see what it would show. Would it verify the little I know about my family? Would there be any surprises?
The results of my DNA test revealed the following:
Great Britain 72%
Ireland 19% Yes! I really do have Irish in me!
Europe West 4%
Scandinavia 3% Woot! Genetic support for my “redheadedviking” moniker
Italy/Greece 1% Okay, this one was a complete surprise.
My DNA test results prove that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, there is a really good chance that it is indeed a 100% European duck.
What’s next? I would like to have my husband’s DNA tested. He knows even less about his heritage than I do although his father was rumored to have some Native American blood. Some of my father-in-law’s physical characteristics supported that supposition. It would be interesting to find out what his genes show.
What is your ancestry?