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Genetic Linkage

A New Memoir about Donor Conception Confronts Genetic Determinism

In her just-released memoir "Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love," Dani Shapiro tells of discovering that she was donor-conceived. The subtext of her compelling story is to confront genetic determinism: the idea that we are our genes.


Dani found her biological father (BF) just 36 hours after receiving surprising results from consumer DNA testing. My story, still unfolding, is much more typical, as I wrote last week.


In a few ways Dani's experience was opposite mine, although our journeys both began with Ancestry.com. Dani's trajectory, somewhat atypical, was to find first that her half-sister wasn't her half-sister; that she had a new first cousin who would turn out to provide a crucial clue; and that she was only half Ashkenazi Jewish.


(This post became outdated days after I wrote it, when another half-sister contacted me. There are, at last count, 5 or 6 of us!)


To continue reading go to DNA Science, where this post first appeared.


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