Morality of DNA Testing for Ethnicity


As a senior citizen, its just an amusement and something to discuss, seeing the percentages of different ethnic background I am supposed to have according to the DNA swab. Neither moral or immoral by itself.

But I am thinking about young people , using the DNA testing to determine if the are actually in part a member of a minority group- American Indians, blacks, etc.

According to my own, I didn’t realize it before, but I am part black and part Jewish, I never realized it.

Is it immoral to use these test to increase someone’s marketability to major universities or other employers and endeavor to benefit financially over this?


Honestly I think they are more a money making scheme. Some aren’t that accurate.


I would say this falls into worldly things that isn’t inheritly disorded but certainly not a requirement for getting into heaven


Why would it be immoral? The university or employer is setting certain criteria, and a candidate will naturally wish to know whether he meets those criteria or not. If the army or a police force sets physical requirements such as a minimum height, would it be immoral to have your height measured so as to know whether you’re tall enough to be accepted?


I know that a big to-do was made about Sen. Warren of Massachusetts claiming her American Indian heritage (based on oral history) to get her job at Harvard, and the implication was made that it wasn’t quite kosher.


I’ve done 23andme as well as Family tree DNA to bounce the info off of my quite extensive genealogy. They seem pretty accurate.
Screening for ethnicity seems more of a problem to me. While affirmative action may have been helpful 40-50 years ago, I think it’s just causing problems nowadays. I think this is a case of how you use the information.


I don’t recall the details of the Warren case. I thought the people who complained about her were accusing her of being a fake. If a DNA test could settle the question one way or the other, then surely that would either bar her from claiming minority status or, alternatively, silence her critics.


I think so, too. They aren’t just making stuff up, my own (actually my sibling’s) has details of national origin which aren’t guessable by my name


Would being of such a small percentage of a minority that one has to find out about it through DNA testing likely help anyone? Based on some maiden names in my family tree, I’m rather sure there’s a bit of Jew in me too and would like to know what else is brewing; surely a little Italian too I imagine. I don’t know about the morality but privacy concerns are the reason I have not done any such testing.


I doubt someone would discover something that would make a significant difference in this regard. My wife is 1/8 Native American (though you’d never guess that in a million years by looking at her pale skin and blonde hair). But that wasn’t a high enough percentage to make any difference for college scholarships.

But even so, provided someone is not being dishonest and is following the rules and/or requirements set by employers or universities, then I don’t see how there could be anything immoral about that.

I’ve kind of wondered about that myself.


Nobody requires a DNA test (currently) to prove ethnicity. Ethnic or racial identity is self-reported. There is certainly some lying involved, but also some fantasy. It is fashionable to be a minority today, and unfashionable to be white; providing an incentive to lie. Catholics were and are a persecuted minority group, but are regarded negatively by the powerful.


I don’t think there is a standardized DNA test that is universally accepted to prove ethnicity for these kinds of things. Even if in theory you were a very small percentage of a minority ethnicity, in order to qualify for some things intended to aid minorities, you would need to show a certain percentage in order to qualify. Usually that’s through birth records, particularly in cases of a person verifying their grandparents.

For example, from Wikipedia’s entry on Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians requires at least 1/16 degree of Eastern Cherokee blood for tribal membership, whereas the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Higher Education Grant for college expenses requires a 1/4 degree minimum.

But from time to time, people will blatantly lie about their ethnicity in order to get into certain colleges, which I think is wrong. Though they also can get caught, especially if they have to show up for an admissions interview.

However, I also think programs and systems that are outdated and easy to cheat are unjust, and should be eliminated.


I’d be more worried about what happens to my DNA after. Could I be falsely implicated in a crime?


A newspaper challenged her to take a DNA test but she refused to do that. She’s only claimed the heritage from “family lore” – so she went with the “it’s in my family and what they always said, and they won’t take that away from me” response. A lot of white Americans tend to do this – they may or may not have a small fraction of native ancestry but it’s often only through what relatives say but there’s nothing on paper to prove it. My aunt is this way, she is convinced that my family could “possibly have Metis blood” but there’s nothing on record, just a lot of wishful thinking.


I did the test and the results made sense. Nothing earth shaking.


Anything that currently relies on self reporting is shaky now. That system relied on widespread honesty in the population. Today people are allowed to “identify” as some other gender, no matter what the DNA says.

When dishonesty is not only condoned but publicly protected, a lot of other things are up for grabs


As a fair skinned red head, I’d be astonished if I got those results :joy:


How is Jewish determined,

These cheap diy tests are so open to contamination



Your DNA is referenced to a central database compiled over years. If you suspect Jewish ancestry, it is in your best interest to find out as several genetic rare diseases are unique to Jews.

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