DNA Kits.. The shocking secrets they can reveal

Connecticut

From the outside, you may think this group of ladies has known each other forever. The truth is, they are sisters but the bond they share is still in its beginning stages.

“It’s such a happy story. it’s just been surreal for us,” Megan says.

This here is actually only the third time they’ve been all together.

It all started when Danbury’s Marcie Gemza, who was adopted at a young age, wanted to try the genetics testing kits that are becoming so popular to try to find her blood relatives.

“I got a lot of matches through the years but they were all these 4th and 5th cousin type of matches and then one day I got a first cousin match,” Gemza explained. 

That match, ultimately led to her finding these three half-sisters plus more siblings she didn’t know she had! They share the same dad who has since passed, but would’ve loved to have seen this reunion.

“I feel like he’s up there somewhere looking down and very happy. So I think there’s a reason for everything to be honest.”

It’s a happy story for this family, but genetics experts warn family secrets like this may not always come as good news. Gemza, knew she was adopted, but what if you’ve never been told?

“Non-paternity can be disclosed through an ancestry test also where siblings share much less dna than they are supposed to,” Professor Miriam Dimaio explained. 

Miriam Dimaio teaches genetics at Quinnipiac University and warns before you send your swab to consider the possible outcomes. Some tests may reveal unexpected information about your family.

In some rare cases, police have made arrests in cold cases based on this ever-growing DNA database. Even distant relatives will have some similar DNA, which means you could be related to someone they’re looking for and your DNA could be the link needed to track their suspect down.

Some kits are focused specifically on health genetics which can be shocking to learn you’re possibly a carrier of debilitating illnesses.

“The results of the health information can do great harm if not interpreted properly,” Dimaio said. 

Keep in mind – it’s not a diagnosis. You should talk with your doctor before making any changes to your routine based on those results.

Then there’s the question of where your information goes once you send it in.

“There are some laboratories that are sharing DNA data with other databases and maybe even commercial laboratories. The issue surrounding the protection of DNA data in these databases is a little bit unclear at this moment,” Dimaio continues.

You should research the kit you’re using first and become comfortable with the possibilities. It was all worth it for families like this one that are now making up for lost time – discovering they have much more in common than just DNA. 

“I grew up loving music, learned to play the piano. Nobody in my family did that. Now, I’m finding that dad and brothers were all very musically inclined… creative,” Gemza says.

Megan adds, “We’re all really into music, I am as well.”

Ironically, they all live in Connecticut and will be getting together for the holidays. She was the missing piece the family didn’t know they needed to feel complete. Something that wouldn’t have been possible had they not taken a chance on this growing trend. 

Another note about the health genetics – just because you could be a carrier of something doesn’t mean you will have the condition. Just because something isn’t listed there doesn’t mean you should avoid taking precautions.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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