DNA Testing Article by Libby Copeland in Psychology Today

Jan Meisels Allen




Libby Copeland, the author of “The Lost family” wrote an article in Psychology Today about milestones in DNA Testing.  This is the 20th anniversary of DNA testing for ancestry purposes—the first company being FamilyTree DNA headed by genealogist Bennet Greenspan.  The major DNA testing companies have sold over 35 million DNA test kits, the majority in the United States.


DNA testing has unlocked secrets that were never expected to be revealed, and implications for others. It has allowed some adoptees to find their birth parents,  sperm donors who expected to remain anonymous find children they never expected to know about them ”knocking on their doors”. Some find that whom they thought was their father is not and others finding half-siblings.


Of course the value of testing is for health risks, not just ancestry. Today ancestry health screening is a big and growing industry.


Investigative forensic genealogy has led to finding rapist and murderers such as the Golden State Killer, who was sentenced as a result of finding him decades after his rape and murder spree.


As the article states,” An industry once characterized as “recreational” is proving itself to be anything but. Consumer genetic testing is changing how we think about family, about our own health, and about the intelligibility of crimes once considered so cold they were frozen over. This is the year when we are learning the power of what our genetic information can reveal – not only to us but to our society at large.”

To read the article see:




Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee