When I undertook writing my second novel in which DNA played an integral role, I was boggled by its science. True, science never has been my strongest suit; I was mystified. What did all these fancy schmancy terms mean to a schlep like me? Thus, I had only one choice: test my DNA.
While there are a number of commercial kits available, I chose the one with the highest consumer-star rating. Thankfully, I’d read the instructions prior; I knew the protocol. Several days later, I massaged my saliva glands. I spit in the bottle. WTH? Not enough. Massage, massage, spit. Still not enough. (Perhaps this is how cows feel when they’re asked to fill the gallon jar.) I milked my saliva until the spit container was full. Dropped it in the envelope and mailed it off.
Now, I was fairly sure I wouldn’t encounter any surprises about my heritage, even though I had to agree I understood at the onset, highly personal ancestral information might be discovered. When the results came, they confirmed: 99.6% northwestern European; Neanderthal ancestry; descendent of Ava, a prehistoric woman from northern Scotland over 4,000 years ago; 2,013 second, third, fourth, and fifth cousins in the company’s current, data base–105 in California, 70 in Texas, etc. In fact, I’m most certain I’ve a second cousin in Tennessee I’ve never met.
My personal health profile was thankfully worry free. After reviewing my personal trait profile, 6 were not me, e.g less likely to experience motion sickness. (One cruise was enough for me.) However, the remaining 27 traits were indeed accurate, e.g. likely no cleft chin, nor unibrow.
Spit. Who knew my spit could reveal such interesting facts?
(NOTE: New novel coming this fall: Secret of Lake Brier set in the fictional, steel town of Lewiston, Ohio. Many of my Ohio readers will absolutely know Lake Brier.)