DNA’s new ‘miracle’: How adoptees are using online registries to find their blood relatives

The Washington Post – October 12, 2016

Last year, Bob Nore, a Vietnam War veteran in Huntsville, Ala., was working on a family tree and wanted to trace his ancestors’ history and origins. So he sent a vial of saliva and $89 to a DNA registry for analysis.

The results showed British and Nordic stock — no surprises. But then Nore received a message from the registry that floored him: We have found a very high probability of a father-son relationship between you and Son Vo.

“I showed it to my wife, and then I looked him up online and found out that he was born in Vietnam shortly after I left,” said Nore, 67.

He vaguely recalled a brief relationship with a Vietnamese woman in Saigon in 1970, but he remembered little about her and had no idea she was pregnant. Yet he had no doubt that Vo, a 45-year-old musician in Los Angeles, was his son. As an engineer, he said, “I have a lot of trust in DNA.”

Most people who register with DNA databases are looking for information about their ethnic origins or exploring distant branches of the family tree. But the rapidly expanding databases have also had an unintended consequence: They are helping people find biological parents whose identities had long been mysteries.

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