From the New York Times Magazine:
The surge in popularity of services like 23andMe and Ancestry means that more and more people are unearthing long-buried connections and surprises in their ancestry.
By Ruth Padawer, Nov. 19, 2018
Yet, the main character in the story, Ms. Johnson, an adoptee, winds up with no surprise at all: she turns out to be white on her biological mother’s side and quite black on her biological father’s side, just like a variety of information had led her to assume for the last few decades.
There’s much kvetching in the article about the inaccuracies, inconsistencies, and unreliability of commercial DNA testing, using the story of an adopted woman who was told her mother was white and her father was black.
But, if you read far enough into the article, as of Fall 2018, AncestryDNA said Ms. Johnson was 45% sub-Saharan African while 23andMe said she was 43.4% sub-Saharan, which is in line with what she now knows about her family history and her own life and looks.
Those sound like pretty convergent estimates to me. It appears that DNA testing for race is getting fairly reliable as it progresses, a far cry from 2009 when Larry David was told he was 3/8ths American Indian.
Moreover, AncestryDNA put Ms. Johnson in connection with her half-sister Ms. Smith, who had also been given up by their mother for adoption. They are very glad to have found each other.
But here’s a bigger question: We are constantly told things like “Race has no biological reality; it’s just a social construct.” But two different DNA testing services report that Ms. Johnson’s biological father likely traced somewhere around 85% or 90% of his genes to sub-Saharan Africa.
Does this mean the “Race does not exist biologically” dogmatists were just pulling our leg?