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What weasels is made of

So, my DNA is winging its way to a lab in the Netherlands (I think) even as we speak. It was inevitable, once I got interested in the DNA of the local population, that I would start wondering what was in my own. BTW, dredging up 1cc of spit is surprisingly hard to do. Bubbles don’t count!

I looked around at different services and decided 23andMe suited me best. They report on ancestry (i.e. ethnicity) but also genetic risk factors, inherited conditions, some genetic traits and drug responses. I understand some people really, really don’t want to know those last few things, and for them there’s ancestry (the DNA testing service of ancestry.com) which only does ethnicity.

It’s worth having a poke around and see what they can find in your genes these days. Eye color, birth weight, baldness. Yeah, I know you know all those things about yourself, but knowing we can identify the genes means we can tell so much more about the people whose bones we dig up. Or the people who commit crimes and are careless enough to leave DNA behind.

Even more interesting, in a way, is what they can’t tell: they can’t measure Jewish or Native American ancestry. Well, they can trace Ashkenazi Jews, but not Middle Eastern lines, which are just semitic. And American Indians show up as generic Far Eastern (and ha! ha! to the indigenous campaigners who denied this obvious fact).

My family’s been in the States a long, long time, so I’m not going to be a purebred anything. This post represents my pledge to you: if something distinctly unWASPy shakes out of my family tree — say, a gypsy or hottentot — I will freely confess. And then I’ll start applying for all that sweet, sweet government aid to minorities.

Good weekend!


Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 6, 2015, 10:07 pm

dredging up 1cc of spit is surprisingly hard to do

*backs out of the room quietly*

Comment from Timothy S. Carlson
Time: March 6, 2015, 10:08 pm

Damn Dutch. Now I’ll be able to buy a WeaselClone(tm) at Walmart.

Comment from Timothy S. Carlson
Time: March 6, 2015, 10:12 pm

Heh. “DNA Extraction”


“Your DNA is extracted from your 1cc of spit in the finest lab by the most highly trained technicians…”

Comment from drew458
Time: March 6, 2015, 10:29 pm

Yeah, I’m pure WASP too. Pure English; we didn’t even get the “flavor” of any Germans or Swedes in the lines until the turn of the previous century. And only one of each.

At least you can play the Wimyn Card if necessary. Not me.

PS – Is your DNA secure? Once tested, does the place “accidentally” send a copy to the gov?

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 6, 2015, 10:36 pm

Dear Mister President,

After attempting to analyse the sample you provided, we could not determine with any accuracy your personal genome, as it appeared to be mixed with that of numerous other persons. We are requesting a second sample, which we hope this time will contain at least some detectable diploid DNA.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 6, 2015, 10:57 pm

I did think about it, Drew. They keep your sample forever, if you tick that box. In the end, I didn’t think I’d be leaving any DNA where I shouldn’t oughta.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: March 6, 2015, 10:59 pm

Was that intended for the CURRENT pResident, Stark Dickflüssig? Or for Slick???

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 6, 2015, 11:39 pm

the CURRENT pResident, Stark Dickflüssig

Hwæt! I am not president of even my local Raëlian Groupies for Mao. How dare you!

Comment from iamfelix
Time: March 7, 2015, 1:09 am

If a Hottentot taught a Hottentot tot
To talk ere the tot could totter,
Ought the Hottenton tot
Be taught to say aught, or naught,
Or what ought to be taught her?
If to hoot and to toot a Hottentot tot
Be taught by her Hottentot tutor,
Ought the tutor get hot
If the Hottentot tot
Hoot and toot at her Hottentot tutor?

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: March 7, 2015, 3:00 pm

Felix left me speechless for about 12 hours until I realized that I want to know how much Hottentot I got in me. I had been toying with 23 & Me a year or so ago when suddenly they got slapped down for making medical predictions (based on DNA) without FDA approval.

I see that they are back,
But I wonder if you Brits get a better results package than we do in the U.S.

I would really like to know my ancestory, but I am pretty confident that the most exotic man in my German/French background is a sweet-talking Irishman or two. I am, in fact, drooling at the prospect of finding out… Whether I can drool a whole cubic centimeter’s worth remains to be seen.

I think I’ll do it though… And then we can all play, ” I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 7, 2015, 3:30 pm

Good, good…I was hoping to tempt someone into it. The more people they test, the stronger the data gets.

Comment from Adm. Snackbar
Time: March 7, 2015, 4:11 pm

Trust us, they said. It is for
() regulating interstate commerce
() national security
() your own protection
() your own good, they said.

I can show you on the doll where they can pry my DNA from.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 7, 2015, 6:02 pm

I can show you on the doll where they can pry my DNA from.

Woah, there, little buddy!

Comment from Stephen Falken
Time: March 7, 2015, 10:04 pm

My first thought was “I wonder if they test for traces of Neanderthal DNA?” And, they do!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 7, 2015, 10:25 pm

That’s one of the reasons I chose these people, Stephen — they specifically mentioned the Neanderthals. I have a thing about Neanderthals. I think we have wronged them, thinking of them as useless cavemen.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 8, 2015, 2:46 pm

This is great Stoaty. You should write down what you expect to find, so you can compare it to what is revealed.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 8, 2015, 3:11 pm

Well, I had one German grandma and one French grandma. All the rest of the known family surnames are English, with a Scot some generations back.

But I’m prepared to seen literally anything in there.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: March 8, 2015, 3:23 pm

In other words, the SWeas may be Trayvon’s Great Aunt…

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 8, 2015, 3:59 pm

I have red hair*, blue eyes, and a complexion that reflects light. That color palette dovetails perfectly with my ethnic genealogy, which is Danish, Scottish, and English. It’s those “generic Far Eastern” markers I’m curious about. There is one known for certain half-Indian on the family tree, but I bet there’s more.

*My naturally red hair—long since gone gray—through the years has been auburn, ginger, strawberry blonde, titian, and one unfortunate shade that my son named “Bride of Bozo,” but that’s not what it said on the box.

Comment from Nina
Time: March 9, 2015, 6:36 am

I have every intention of doing it one day. I know I’m mostly UK/Ireland, but Viking? Roman? Saxon? Norman? Celt?

I have no idea.

Comment from Timothy S. Carlson
Time: March 9, 2015, 9:12 am

Heh. From the diagram, it looks like you are supposed to bleed from the mouth – or – nose into the tube, not spit.

Or else the person in the diagram has really, _really_ bad gums.

Comment from Dan Patterson
Time: March 9, 2015, 11:05 am


And I don’t need a damn doll.

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