Columbia, SC (WLTX) - It's not unusual to want to learn more about yourself and after a few clicks online, you could be drowning in information. There are dozens of genetic tests offering the latest and greatest ways to answering your questions. You send them some salvia or a swab from your cheek and from that, they'll analyze your D.N.A., but sometimes the results you get back aren't definitive.
Richard Moody works at WLTX. He's adopted and said he doesn't have a desire to learn about his birth parents, but is interested in learning more about himself.
"Where did I originate? Where did our people, where did my people originate? And anything I could find out having to do for health reasons," Moody said.
Moody turned to genetic testing. He first used Ancestry D.N.A and about a year later used 23andMe
With some of his saliva packed and shipped, he waited for the results. What he got back provided some answers, but also raised some questions.
"Yeah. It would have been really cool if they were identical. Then I would have gone, 'Ah-Ha.' Now I go, 'Ehh,'" said Moody.
Ancestry D.N.A estimated that his ancestry comprised mostly like those from Western Europe at 49 percent.
This included the countries of Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein.
23&Me estimated that Richard is also European, but not primarily Western. These result said Moody was British and Irish at 53.5 percent and only 13.6 percent French and German.
"When you see something and you're going for information, it makes me a little uneasy just because they say two different things. From a broad perspective they say the same thing, but when you get granular, they go in opposite directions. 23&Me was a lot more granular," Moody said.
"It's good. It's fun information, but you do have to look at it as just that and not necessarily something to hang your hat on," Whitney Dobek said.
Dobek is a genetic counselor at the University of South Carolina's School of Medicine.
"These labs will take a sample from an individual, get the DNA information on those regions, see what the patterns are of variation and then they will compare that to their reference and what we know from the research and be able to use algorithms and determine what percentage ancestry you might be and how likely it is that you might have blue eyes," said Dobek.
Dobek admitted she's also taken 23andMe test and said these types of services run digitally. She said there is no one looking through a microscope, but millions of pieces of data being run through hard drives.
"The testing itself is very computerized. It's done with this chip technology. That even our clinical genetic labs use and they're able to quickly pull down all of your variants out of your D.N.A and upload that into a computer and do the comparisons that way," she said. "The variation between the different labs has to do with the data that they are pulling from, so every lab has their own reference that they're looking at and depending on which lab you're pulling from, you're going to get slightly different answers because they're pulling from slightly different data and in addition to that they may be looking at slightly different variations within your D.N.A, so it's not necessarily that your ancestry isn't there. It just might be that that part of your D.N.A wasn't looked at."
And even though Moody said he has his reservations, he still very interested.
"You know, it's not one hundred percent correct, but it is it's absolutely noteworthy. It also says you're not likely to have cheek dimples. Well I don't, so it was right about that," he said.