If you’re like most people, you’re at least somewhat curious about your heritage. Perhaps you know all about it. You might be proud of your Irish, English, or African roots. Our heritage tells the story of our lives and where our ancestors came from. Without them, we would not be where we are today. And taking a DNA test can be enlightening. We can learn that we’re connected to people from all over the world. And that’s totally amazing.
DNA ancestry companies now offer people, for a nominal fee, the information they seek. With a simple swab of your cheek, you can send off your DNA sample and get detailed information on your ancestry. That is amazing. You’ll learn what countries you hail from.
But is the information as accurate as it claims? While companies claim to give you detailed information into your past, not everyone trusts their claims.
And Amy Jones had that same question. When her DNA history revealed that she was Irish, she didn’t believe it. And because she is one of four quadruplets, she and her family decided to put the DNA tests to the test.
“I called my mother, I called my father, and I said listen we’re Irish!” Jones recalled. “And they said, ‘Are we really?’ And I said, ‘that’s what it says.’ So, I’m assuming that’s right.”
Because Amy has quadruplet children, two of them share the same DNA with the other. And unlike most people who submit their samples to these DNA companies, she can verify her results.
The Jones Quad Squad are Amy’s children. She has two identical twins, Gabe and Seth, and two fraternal twins, Katie and Hugh. With the help of Jones’s Quad Squad, she enlisted the help of KPIX to put the DNA heritage companies to the test. And they chose to challenge Ancestry DNA and 23andMe.
Because Jones wanted to conceal her challenge, KPIX 5 helped her make a few changes. Instead of giving the children the same names, they changed them and even gave them new ethnicities. The Jones Quad Squad didn’t want the DNA testing companies to figure out their ploy to challenge their metrics. And KPIX 5 also helped Jones with the test by sending the samples in from different cities.
Although the results varied slightly from the two ancestry sites, the identical twins’ DNA was nearly identical. This made Jones confident that she was indeed Irish.
“I was surprised that I was 35 percent Irish. They were even higher than I was, that really surprised me,” Jones said.
But there was a surprise in the results. 23andMe identified Katie as more British and Irish than her brother and nearly twice as much so as her identical twins.
KPIX brought the DNA results to Dr. Ruther Ballard, a forensic DNA expert, and professor of Biological Sciences at California State University in Sacramento.
“You would expect there to be differences, and I would have been very surprised if this had come back without any,” said Ballard.
Have you ever considered taking a DNA test?