Shocking DNA test discoveries

I did not find a new father, brother or sister in 2014 and maybe that’s a good thing. As much as I’d like to discover my biological father’s identity, I don’t want to cause misery in my or another family’s life.

My saliva sample has not brought new siblings or parents into my life...a good thing, perhaps
My DNA sample has not produced bombshells

That’s exactly what happened after George Doe (not his real name) gave his parents the “gift” of DNA testing.

As reported on, the article was written from the perspective of a biological son, an enthusiastic scientist who thought DNA testing would be a really cool thing for his family to do. The test revealed a family secret. George, our scientist, discovered he had a half-brother, Thomas, who had been adopted at birth. Like many adoptees, Thomas did DNA testing to find his blood relatives.

This revelation tore the family apart. George Doe’s parents divorced and no one in the family is speaking to George’s father.

George never expected genetic testing to cause such personal drama. He contacted 23andMe and asked a spokeswoman to address the fact that customers who buy genetic tests may not realize they’re participating in paternity tests. He didn’t get much satisfaction from the company.

I hope the family heals and Thomas gets the information he’s looking for from his new dad.

George Doe’s story is a cautionary tale for adoptees and the non-adopted. Many of us go into DNA testing with the dream of finding long lost relatives who are waiting to welcome us into their families. Personally, I don’t expect the red carpet treatment from any new relatives. But I’m still intrigued by the possibilities. It’s been more than a year since I got my initial results and I still check my Family Tree DNA account every week for new blood relatives. The closest matches I’ve found are second cousins on my mother’s side.

As adoptees, I think many of us know we are diving into risky waters when we pursue the results of DNA tests. We know we have the potential to cause trouble by appearing out of the blue, claiming to be somebody’s secret child or sibling. But do people who are not adopted realize what their saliva samples can lead to? Maybe they should be warned in advance, the same way patients are warned about potential side effects from prescription drugs.

The label on the DNA test could read: “WARNING: The results of the test you are about to take may turn your world upside down and lead to painful revelations. Do not take this test if you are unprepared for shocking outcomes.” In other words, if you like your family history the way it is written, don’t buy this test.

Do you think the test companies should do more to caution people about the potential for bombshells?

5 thoughts on “Shocking DNA test discoveries

  1. I think reasonably intelligent people should be able to make that connection on their own. My son wants to test. I warned him that if his father has any unknown children it could come out. He has grown up assuming he is an only child. That could potentially change. Of course my own father or grandfather could also pop up with some unique additions to the family as well. If so, I would want a chance to know and explore the possibilities. Companies shouldn’t have to offer a disclaimer. He was a scientist, as such he should have known the possibility.

  2. Hi Belinda. I agree a scientist of all people should go into DNA testing knowing that he could turn up some new family members. But DNA testing is still a new thing for ordinary people and they probably take the test without thinking about the possible consequences. What type of DNA test is your son planning to take? What’s driving his interest? Thanks for reading and posting a comment. Lynne

  3. He is testing with, I believe it is the autosomal DNA test. He has always been interested in science in general. He is mainly interest in seeing where the family roots come from. I just thought I needed to warn him in case something came up. He is only 17. He wanted to do it years ago when he saw the ad on TV.

  4. Hi Lynne,Just reading your story, as at 59 years of age just found out I am adopted,I am English and just at the start of my journey to find out who I am,but so far I know I am the result of an affair between a married women and?Here is the uncanny thing ,the picture where you are meeting your sister looks remarkably like me 20 years ago,to the point I showed my husband and he agrees ,as he said everybody has their double .Weird coincidence.

  5. Hi Beverley. That’s funny. I don’t know why but people are always telling me I look like so-and-so. What’s your maiden name? It would be quite a coincidence if we actually have ancestors in common. How did you find out you were adopted? Good luck on your journey. Lynne

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