The advent and increasing popularity of ancestry testing raises complicated issues about how we conceive of ethnicity, and what it means to claim it — Is ethnicity genetic? Is it cultural? Is it how you see yourself, or how the world sees you?
Today’s New York Times (“ Seeking Ancestry in DNA Ties Uncovered by Tests ”) discusses how people are using, and wrestling with, the increasing popularity of this testing. (Disclosure: our company, DNA Direct, does not do ancestry testing. We stick to tests with health/medical applications).
Like the expression of genes themselves, our understanding of “race” and “ethnicity” is dynamic: It will continue to evolve, it will be complex, it will be individual, and it will be influenced by many environmental, personal, and genetic forces.