Last week I provided an analysis of the article in Science, â€œThe Science and Business of Genetic Ancestry Testingâ€œ, which examined the benefits and pitfalls of genetic genealogy.
There’s been considerable discussion of the article and the author’s conclusions at the Genealogy-DNA mailing list. One of the most interesting posts was by Kim Tallbear, a long-time member of the list and co-author of the Science article. The post, “Response to Genetic Genealogists From Authors of Oct. 19th Science Article“, is important reading for anyone who is following the development of this story. The following is a quote from Dr. Tallbear’s post:
“We orginally had language in the article that noted the expertise of genetic genealogists such as some of you on this list. (My interactions on this listserv taught me well that there is a good deal of expertise here.) But with space constraints the editors cut that language.)”
The post also contains “an email response from lead author, Deborah Bolnick, a biological anthropologist at the University of Texas, to a genetic genealogist who was unhappy with our article.” Dr. Bolnick’s email discusses the eliminated section of the paper and emphasizes that there are a number of genetic genealogists who are very educated in this area of genetics:
“While there are many individuals like you who have learned a great deal about population genetics, the available tests, and the associated population history, there are also a lot of individuals who take these tests without knowing much about them. Our Science article was focused on that group of people because we feel it is important for every test-taker to have a clear understanding of what DNA tests both can and cannot tell us.“
Education, as always, is the key.