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Susan grew up as an only child. She knew that her father was in the military and had been stationed in southeast Asia for several years. After serving in the military, her dad went to college, which is when her parents met. Susan was born a few years after they both graduated from college. Although she is an only child, Susan has always imagined what it would be like to have siblings. Susan signed up for a first-year college seminar course that provided an opportunity to obtain genetic test results from 23andMe. Susan didn’t think much about spitting into the tube and sending off for a DNA test. She thought it might be cool to connect with distant relatives. After a month when Susan’s test results were available on the 23andMe website, she was shocked by the results. A match identified as a half-sibling with 26% shared SNPs in 35 segments appeared at the top of the DNA Relatives list. This match had a different maternal haplogroup than Susan, so they did not share the same mother.

 

What are plausible causes of this close match between Susan and another user of 23andMe?

What are potential consequences of Susan confronting her still married parents about this discovery?

If you were Susan, what would you do with this information?

 

A couple of days after the results appeared, Susan receives a message on the 23andMe website from the matching person. The person explains that she was born in Thailand and later adopted, and that her father that she does not know was a US soldier. The match really wants to make a connection with Susan and is interested to learn whether Susan knows her biological father.

 

Is Susan obligated to respond to the message?

How would you respond to the matching person?

Should Susan involve her father in the conversation with the matching person?

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