- Two in 10 Americans have taken mail-order DNA tests, YouGov says
- Many are taking to social media to reveal their jaw-dropping family secrets, such as the fact that they have 30 siblings or even married a cousin.
- Here, Dailymail.com takes a look at the dark side of the trend as millions of Americans find they’re not quite who they thought they were.
The explosion in popularity of home DNA test kits has led to dozens of Americans uncovering shocking family secrets – including a man who discovered he had 30 siblings and another who discovered his husband was actually a relative.
About two in 10 Americans have taken a mail test, according to data from survey site YouGov, while the global genetic testing market is now worth around $14 billion.
And experts say the trend is driven by the availability of cheap and accurate tests, with the two major providers – 23andMe and AncestryDNA – offering them for just $99.
But there may be a darker reason for the growing interest: A harrowing documentary recently laid bare the damaging health consequences of incestuous families through the eyes of the deformed and inbred Whittaker family in West Virginia.
From the woman who found out she married her cousin to the girl who realized her late father was switched at birth, here Dailymail.com rounds up the most jaw-dropping family surprises to come as you trace your roots .
“I found out I had 30 siblings”
Andy Torrey had always believed he was an only child before ordering an AncestryDNA test for Christmas.
But the results started to ring alarm bells when it came back 14% French and 11% English. He thought his father was “mostly” English and French, so he expected his own DNA count to be higher.
It was then that Torrey – from Atlanta, Georgia – discovered that his mother had in fact used a sperm donor – whose donations had been used to create at least 30 other children.
Torrey has found his siblings and is going to meet them all over the United States. He documented the experience on TikTok.
“I woke up two days ago thinking I was an only child and now I find out I’m the second oldest at 31,” he wrote on the video-sharing platform.
He added: “The crazy thing is I bought these kits for me and my parents for Christmas and they didn’t let me know.”
“My father was switched at birth”
Alice Plebuch made headlines in 2017 after finding out her father had lived with the wrong family all his life.
Plebuch’s father was extremely proud of his Irish heritage – so much so that he had the Irish song “Danny Boy” played in his wake.
So she expected her test to show a 100% Irish family tree. Instead, she discovered that she was half-Jewish.
After digging further, she realized that her father and sister – her so-called aunt – were not related at all.
After going through hospital records, she realized that her Jewish father had been accidentally brought home by an Irish family.
Plebuch managed to connect with the family of the man he was switched with at birth.
“I really lost all of my identity. ‘I felt adrift. I didn’t know who I was — you know, who I was,’ she told The Washington Post at the time. .
‘A rare condition meant that I was not bound to the children I gave birth to
Single mother Lydia Fairchild was 26, unemployed and seeking state help in 2002 when she was asked to take a DNA test to prove her family was related.
But the results suggested Fairchild had no genetic link to the two children she gave birth to, alarming social services.
“I knew I was wearing them, and I knew I was delivering them. There was no doubt in my mind,’ Fairchild, of Washington, said at the time.
She gave birth a third time and again DNA tests revealed she was unrelated to the newborn – despite carrying him for nine months.
The mismatch was later found to be due to an ultra-rare condition called “chimerism”.
This meant she had technically been a twin in the womb, but the other embryo died early, meaning she “absorbed” her brother’s cells.
The condition meant she had two cell lines – with only one matching that of her children.
His case was relayed in the 2006 documentary “The twin in me”.
“I married my cousin”
The DNA test results may be so surprising that they have spawned their own hashtag on TikTok “#ancestrysecrets”.
Influencer Celina Quinones had been married to her husband Joseph for ten years and had three of his children when she discovered they were in fact related.
Celina, from Denver, Colorado, decided to take a DNA test in 2016 on Myheritage.com.
This indicated that they had a genetic match of 62 centimorgan – a unit of measurement of genetic linkage – meaning they share ancestry eight generations back.
But the couple are now coming clean on the news, with Celina jokingly referring to Joseph as her “cousband”.
‘I wouldn’t change that for the world… Cousband and wife for life!’ she explained on TikTok.
“There’s a reason good couples look alike. I’m just here to raise awareness.
Anita Foeman, a DNA expert at West Chester University, told Dailymaill.com that Hill’s story is common.
“Research shows that we are attracted to people who share similarities with us,” she said.
“That’s what a lot of people worry about when they find out they have all these relatives they didn’t know. What if I had met this person in a bar?
Foeman adds that she expects DNA testing will soon be mandatory at birth and will simply become a standard part of their medical records.
#married #cousin #jawdropping #secrets #revealed #DNA #tests