Saturday, May 19, 2018

Amazing DNA

When I was in my early 40s, I was diagnosed with mesenteric fibromatosis and familial polpyposis. Big words, rare disease, also, hereditary. The Cleveland Clinic did genetic testing, but there remains a world of difference between medical genetics and something like DNA testing. I was relieved to find I did not have the syndrome often associated with familial polyposis that is invariably fatal.
All this is odd for an adopted person. People who grow up knowing their biological family know about the health stories of immediate family. There is a tumor registry for mesenteric fibromatosis, but there is the inevitable issue of confidentiality. If I ever found a blood relative, I thought it would have to be on the side that did not carry the gene for the disease.
I tried again to get the adoption records opened, but without success. Life was busy and full as I got used to a new health normal.
Twenty years later, DNA testing was common and I thought I would at least get reinforcement of the information my adoptive mother had given me about my biological ancesters. I did the cheek swab, sent off the packages and waited for results.
Meanwhile, the polyposis interferred again and I had major surgery before the DNA results arrived. The results seemed odd. Mitrochrondial (mother's side) showed something like 97% Caucasian and the other DNA result was 98% Austrian. Something seemed very odd about those results. Who has nearly 100% of one ancestry?
Neither of those DNA reports resembled the story I'd always heard about my ancesters. I'd been told that my biological parents were professionals who immigrated from Berlin, Germany to the U.S. Their marriage did not survive the migration. That wasn't consistent with Austrian and Caucasian DNA. Meanwhile, I developed some complications from the surgery. Life happened and I dropped the search for my roots.
A couple of years later, I caught an episode of a TV show that unites families who have been separated, often a child given up for adoption. Maybe I could find a cousin or something. I tried another DNA company, thinking it might be preliminary to hiring the experts on the show or something like that.

No comments:

Post a Comment