Friendly Word of Caution

Before you embark into the world of molecular genealogy, we want you to consider two things. First of all, by taking a DNA test, you might find out something that you would rather not know. For example, some people have discovered that they are not biologically related to the family from which they've always claimed descent. Sometimes this occurs due to a "non-paternal event" where the biological father was not the person listed on the birth record (this may have occurred in the immediate family, or sometime in past generations). Others have discovered that they may not have the racial or ethnic composition that they have always identified themselves with. While both of these situations are rare, you need to be prepared just in case it happens to you or to someone you invite to participate in a study.

The second thing to remember is that molecular genealogy is a science — but not an absolute one. When looking at DNA test results, you are looking at the probability that something is true. (Probability is the likelihood that a specific fact or outcome will occur.) Nothing is ever 100 percent certain and, although it is rare, sometimes mistakes are made by the testing facility, or new research is discovered that changes the way that a test result is viewed. DNA testing for genealogy is still in its infancy and is going through some growing pains. As long as you can adapt to change and accept new technology, you'll be just fine in the world of DNA genealogy.

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