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Stanford sociologists explore who does, and doesn’t, want a DNA ancestry test

A female and a baby sitting at a table with a laptop, mug, and notebook. The female reaches across with a pencil to write on the notebook
Image credit: Getty Images
Feb 11 2019
Fellow, Research, Stanford, Students

At-home DNA testing kits may be the latest fad, but according to new research by Stanford sociologists, not everyone is keen to find out whether they are related to the British royal family or a Neanderthal.

In a survey of nearly 110,000 Americans, sociologists Aliya Saperstein, along with former graduate students Adam Horowitz (PhD ’16) and Jasmine Little (MA ’17), found that people who feel most certain of their heritage are more likely to decline a free test because they believe the results would confirm what they already know – even if their perception of their ancestry might not be accurate.

Adam Horowitz is a 2015 Gerald J. Lieberman Fellow. Jasmine Little is a 2015 EDGE-SBE Fellow.

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