MY PREOCCUPATION WITH GENETICS AND CHICKENS
I have written about all of these topics within the past week here in DNA & Diaspora and Mama’s Egg Money I’ve written about these topics for other A to Z Challenges too. In April 2018 I wrote about Feminine Icons. DNA was covered in ICONIC X: ORYX AND CRAKE & THE X CHROMOSOME MEET MADAME X. I have so much fun writing about DNA! You can see that I do enjoy it as I have turned to this subject multiple times, as in Xes, Sexes and Mitochondrial DNA skewing the topic enough to fit in with my theme. And I do it even when I’m not doing A to Z, I often work genealogy and genetics into posts. One of my favorite posts that I’ve ever written is COLUMBUS, CHICKEN DNA AND MY DAD which also has an illustration I adore that is so evocative of illustrations for kids when I was little.
But enough about me, although I believe examples help illustrate some of the obscure topics I write about, and I don’t have to worry about copyright in examples from my own life.
CORPORATIONS HAVE MADE US FIXATED ON GENOMES AND GENEALOGY
If you take nothing away from my series of Personal History posts this April, please note this following point!
You do not have to buy anything to understand where you came from!— Nancy Hill
The job of a brand is to make you comfortable with brand. Big corporate brands want you to be comfortable with the product they want to sell to you. This is their primary objective so that even if you do not purchase from them right now, you will be more likely to buy from them in the future. A corporation cannot be your friend. And even if they sell products related to family, they cannot have families and are not people. Do not get me started on corporate personhood! I was in a small study group years ago that used WILPF’s guide to corporate personhood. It was great. So informative. Plus I loved being involved with a woman’s organization that is over 100 years old!
KNOW YOUR REASONS FOR WANTING TO KNOW
Knowing your ancestry can be wonderful knowledge. Sometimes the journey of discovery is worth it all by itself. Having something to do in later life can help us 1)keep our brains active, and 2) provide closure to unfinished business. One thing I have discovered in the past twenty years of genealogical work – it really can provide closure for gaping fissures of unfinished business, that you did not even know were still hanging around. I have been able to assuage some of the filial guilt I felt for not having done this research in time for my parents and brothers to marvel in the tidbits I have found from times past. I realized I can however pass on what I find to other consanguine, affinal, fictive and collateral relatives and descendants, even if I have no biological grandchildren. That makes me smile.
But if you do not have those tasks or needs pulling at you, there is no reason to pay Ancestry.com to gobble up any new information you might add to their databases that they can charge other people to use, without even a “Thank you very much for working with us.”
It is important to understand what is and is not corporate and for profit. Other places exist which can give you access to most if not all the information that Ancestry has and for which they charge you rather exorbitant rates. The genealogical site by the Church of the Later Day Saints, for example, is wonderful.
The same situation exists with 23andme.com and other genetic testing/heritage sites. These companies are finding out a lot more through your participation and turning your DNA over for them to use forever, than you are getting from them. They give your statistically weighted information about most traits they cover in their reports. Very little of it actually tells you if you have some lethal trait or you carry some lethal trait as recessive even though it isn’t expressed in the you that walks around in the world. If you need medical genetic testing go to your doctor.
I think of the science fiction/drama series Orphan Black whenever I think of companies owning your genetic information as this is one of the main subplots. (Tatiana Maslany is an magnificent actor if you are looking for a show to stream or an actress to follow. She plays clones in this show and does an absolutely award winning job of it. She won an Emmy for her portrayal.).
All I’m saying here is be careful with what you give away.