You Tarzan, Me Jane

You Tarzan, Me Jane

Letter from the Editor

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ou’ve waited over six weeks for your report, impatiently checking your email inbox every day and then one morning you wake up and it’s there, your 23andMe DNA report. I bought one for Jerry for Christmas and when we got his results, it was literally 60 pages to review. We both looked at each other blankly and he said, “I got a D in Biology in college.” I chimed in, “Me too!” It was like when we both confessed that we made terrible SAT scores after going to our high school homecoming dance the night before, staying out a bit too late. Does this sound like true soul mates or Dumb and Dumber? I think the latter!

Jerry’s DNA results showed that he is 99.9% Northwestern European, with a complete breakdown of countries: French and German 26.4%, British and Irish 15%, Scandinavians 11%, and so on. What was interesting was that his DNA originated from the Neander Valley, with 53% more Neanderthal variants (283) than the average 23andMe customer. These descendants were ancient humans known as Neanderthals. Well, I could have told you that he was the original cave man. Being the strong, silent type, he says I do enough talking for the both of us and sometimes breaks his silence by asking the occasional question like, “What’s for supper?” Anyway, I had a good laugh teasing him about being cave man. It was an unexpected bonus.

Well when I got my results, I had a surprise. I was equally a fellow cave woman with 280 Neanderthal variants. Wait a minute! This can’t be right. I was sure that I was a blue blood aristocrat from a Downton Abbey lineage. I’m more suited to having tea and crumpets rather than foraging for berries in the wilderness. With my pinky finger out, I exclaimed, “These results are flawed I tell you!”

Smugly, I did review what I knew was true, that I was 95.6% Northwestern European and over sixty percent British. Tea anyone?! Let me put on a kettle. Then delving deeper, I did get into finding that my maternal Haplogroup, called T2f, was relatively uncommon and dated back 11,500 years ago. (Where is a genealogy specialist when you need one?) What was really cool to find out was that Jessie James (1847-1882), one of the most infamous names in the American Old West, is from my same exact genetic group. Is it more exciting to be from aristocracy or outlaw? What do you think? Just call me Jessica James and pour me some whiskey, straight up. I’ll have tea later. I’ve got some banks to rob.

If you have contemplated finding out what your DNA is, I highly recommend 23andMe. You will be astonished and maybe enlightened to find out about who you really are and where your ancestors came from. If you, like me, find out that you are from Neanderthal lineage, accept it. You can now feel okay scratching and burping. It’s the cave man’s way. Just hold your pinky out so that you still look lady like!

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