You’re All In Your DNA

In 1986, DNA profiling was used in a criminal investigation for the first time in the UK.  A technique pioneered by Dr. Jeffrey Glassberg and Geneticist Sir Alec Jeffreys.

DNA profiling was originally used in forensic testing,  but it is now widely used as parentage testing.  It is also used in zoology, botany, and agriculture.

It’s All in the Genes was the working title of my book… until I was told it was too on the nose.  Although these microorganisms are closely intertwined, there is a difference between GENES and DNA and I am fascinated by both, so much so, they constantly crop up in my writing.

Last night, many of you living in the UK may have seen the airing of a  special edition of Long Lost Family with Davina McColl and Nicky Campbell, Born Without a Trace.  With the help of DNA testing and detective work, they embarked on an emotional journey to trace the family members of three foundlings.  I’m not going to tell you what they found, because you need to watch it for yourself.

Much to my delight, I was given a DNA kit for Christmas.  Your DNA is the very fabric of who you are and I want to know more.

I think as you get older, knowing more about your family’s forebears becomes more important.  I’ve ploughed through my life having lost people I cared about when I was too young to ask questions and they were definitely too young to leave this life.  

I was lucky enough to have known my birth parents, but on and off over the years, I have tried to build my family tree, but there is one branch that consistently fails to bear fruit.

I need to find out more about my Greek grandmother, who I adored but lost when I was 8.  She met my Grandfather in post-WWI Istanbul, then Constantinople. What was a Greek family doing living in Istanbul? I didn’t think the Greeks and the Turks liked each other very much during that complicated period in history.  The other thing is, that my Grandmother’s maiden name, only seems to crop up in… Senegal.

My Grandfather as a very young man served in WWI and his regiment fought in the Middle East. I can only assume he stayed in Istanbul after peace was declared, because of my Grandmother, eventually bringing her home to rural Yorkshire, with my two-year-old Aunt. My Mother never elaborated about either of her parents and her older sister, born in Istanbul, was far from clear on the basics.  I didn’t even know my Aunt had been born in Istanbul until we went travelling together when I was in my Thirties!

I sent my DNA swab away for analysis a few weeks ago.  It can take two to four months for the results to come back, but I really hope they will do what it says on the tin… connect me with the relatives I never knew I had.

To be continued…

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Thank you very much for visiting my niche-less blog! If you have time before you leave, would love you to tell us what you think. All the best, Tessa Barrie

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