Saturday, November 14, 2009

Two Tribes

Today in this weird world I discovered two parts of my life had collided: my fondness for the comedy of Larry David and my interest in direct-to-consumer (DTC) genomic testing. In this late night cable TV clip David -- an archetype neurotic Jew, whose comedy I adore because he creates a caricature of himself -- learns an unexpected "truth" about his ancestry.

His confusion upon receiving the test results creates both a funny moment and one that casts some doubt on the enterprise of DTC ancestry tests. The genomics blog where I learned about this today wonders "...if such ancestry tests are reliable." I imagine there will be more challenges; accuracy is key to the value proposition for this burgeoning enterprise.

Of course, an alternate reading would be to challenge what American Jews believe about their ancestry...but the science simply doesn't support that change in conventional wisdom.

*Spoiler alert* Yes, my headline is an allusion to the weird results of David's test. Play the video & see it for yourself!

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