Thursday, August 8, 2019

Holy Canoli

23&me tells me all about me.

It also tells me about parts of me that are found in people other than me.


I'm not talking about the ones that share my enormous hook nose or my propensity to grow unwanted hair in unreachable places. The ones I see at my dinner table on occasional birthdays or holidays. 

I'm talking about distant relatives, who not only share my swarthy Mediterranean appearance, but also, by some freak of nature share the MJ521A/C gene that regulates urine color.

Or the BK78J9P gene that enables inordinate strength.

And the ZQ915F53 gene that restricts the ability to fully understand the mechanics of the internal combustion engine. Thus resulting in overpaying for any automotive repairs.

The 23&me people are very good at updating me with lists of new distant relatives. I know it's just a marketing ploy. And a good reason for them to constantly stay on my radar so they can hawk their other services.

I know this because the list of distant relatives now includes 6th and 7th cousins. And they're coming not only from my incredibly small eastern European gene pool but from adjacent areas like Mongolia, Bulgaria and Siberia.

Nevertheless, it's interesting. At least to me.

About a year ago, I was looking over the list of distant relatives and saw a name that was oddly familiar. It was a surname from my Facebook list of friends. Moreover it wasn't Jewish, it was Italian.

Naturally I reached out to my Italian Facebook friend with a DM. I asked if she knew the person. She did. It was her uncle. Holy six degrees of separation.

Crazy, I thought. Even crazier, was the radio silence that followed this incredible discovery.

I guess if I were her and just found out I was related to Rich Siegel, I'd do the same thing. Frankly I'm surprised she didn't unfriend me, post haste.

Of course all this stringing together of DNA strands brings up a frightening possibility. What if, for instance, upon further chromosomal digging I were to find out that my wife were not only my wife but my cousin!


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