20 of the Most Shocking DNA Test Discoveries—Exposed
Thanks to mail-in ancestry DNA services, people are discovering all kinds of surprising things—like shocking lineages, long-lost siblings, and family secrets that have been buried for decades.
Writing into MSN’s The Moneyist column, a man told the story that after years of receiving substantial monetary gifts from a wealthy uncle, a 23andMe DNA test revealed that he was actually the uncle’s biological son. The family secret was confirmed by the man’s mother, who had worked as the Chief Financial Officer for the company the “uncle” ran.
Switched at birth
When Alice Collins Plebuch decided to do a DNA test, she did it all in good fun. As originally reported by the Washington Post, the woman, who identified as Irish American, was shocked to find a mix of European Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European genes in her results. After family-wide DNA testing, she learned that her father was not the biological son of her grandparents. After even more digging, Plebuch finally got to the bottom of the story: Her father had been sent home with the wrong family. A mystery of over 100 years had been solved by a mail-in DNA test.
ABC News Correspondent Whit Johnson participated in a DNA test on a whim, though he knew his father had been adopted and little was known about his biological family. Johnson discovered that he had an uncle—his father’s previously unknown biological brother. Armed with this man’s contact information, Johnson shared the results with his father—and the two long-lost brothers were reunited.
A DNA test revealed that Lydia Fairchild wasn’t the mother of the children she had given birth to. Single mother Fairchild had two children with another on the way when finances got tight, and she decided to apply to government assistance. According to GlobalGenes.org, Fairchild was asked to take a DNA test to confirm the children were hers. The results suggested she was their aunt. Confused, scared, and accused of fraud, Fairchild arranged to have a government witness present at the birth of her third child, and a DNA test was performed on the spot. Again, Fairchild was not a match as the mother to the child she had just birthed. Finally, scientists figured out that Fairchild was a “chimera”—she had absorbed a twin while she was in the womb; it was the twin’s DNA that was showing up in the maternity tests. Find out about the ancestry test that told this man he’s part Neanderthal.
Kelli Rowlette knew she wasn’t related to her father—her parents had used a sperm bank to conceive her. However, no one was ready for the results of her DNA tests: After consulting with Ancestry.com, Rowlette learned that the fertility doctor her parents worked with used his own semen to impregnate her mother, according to a BBC report. Rowlette has a lawsuit pending against the retired doctor for fraud, medical negligence, battery, emotional distress, and breach of contract.
At the age of 74, Walter McFarlane decided to take an AncestryDNA test to learn more about his biological family. He had been raised by his grandmother, but the details of his biological family were hazy. McFarlane learned that his long-time friend who grew up down the street was actually his half-brother, Alan Robinson (who had been adopted). CNN reported that Robinson and McFarlane shared the news they are brothers at a family dinner. Here are 24 little things that help make you a true friend.
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Two British women were shocked to learn that their ancestry revealed a Native American bloodline—especially considering their ancestors hadn’t been to America. Doreen Isherwood and Anne Hall discovered that they are descendants of Native Americans who were brought to the United Kingdom centuries ago—possibly as slaves, translators, or tribal representatives, says BBC News. This kind of discovery is considered very rare and it’s likely their indigenous American relatives remained in the UK and started families in the communities in which they were relocated.
Parents and their pasts
You don’t expect scandal with your parents, but that wasn’t the case for Houston Chronicle reporter Paul McGrath. He learned that his mother had been in an undisclosed relationship while serving in the Marine Corps. The man McGrath had assumed was his biological father was not. An AncestryDNA test led him to his half-siblings, the children of his biological dad, Domingo Malaquias. Here are 34 things your parents’ health reveals about you.
A stem cell and reproductive biologist, the (anonymous) George Doe explained to Vox how he came to participate in a 23andMe DNA test when teaching a course about the genome. However, his results offered an entirely different lesson for himself. Upon clicking a link that offered to connect him with close relatives, he stumbled upon a man named Thomas with whom he shared 22 percent of his genome with. It became clear that he and this man had the same father, meaning his father had a secret affair. The revelation tore “Doe’s” family apart, leading to the divorce of his parents.
Adopted as a child, Matt Heninger took an AncestryDNA test to learn more about his ethnicity. Once he had the results—no surprises there—he forgot about the test. Until a few months later he received an email from Joyce Burgener who said her results suggested that they were closely related, possibly first cousins. After some more digging, the two discovered they were actually brother and sister. As a 12-year-old child in an extremely poor family of five, Burgener had a memory of Heninger being born—and their mother giving him up for adoption, reports the Deseret News. Read these bizarre sibling stories you won’t believe are true.