DNA Blueprint

Boise, Idaho has a fantastic downtown area with a plethora of incredible signage. One of my favorites is this one for the Idaho Blueprint and Supply Co. I love that it’s three-dimensional, that it doesn’t lay flat against the building.

Every time I pass this sign I think of my blueprint, my DNA. The dictionary defines DNA as follows:

“DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is like a blueprint of biological guidelines that a living organism must follow to exist and remain functional.”

“We’ve been led to believe that the goal of equality is to somehow make differences disappear yet, in reality, it is to be profoundly aware of them and to recognize them as beautiful and valuable and necessary. The virtue is not in ignoring our various distinctions, but in celebrating them; not in pretending as though they don’t exist, but in believing that their existence makes us a better version of humanity as we live together in community.” —JOHN PAVLOVITZ, from his book “A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community”

Have you ever had your DNA tested to discover the breakdown of your ancestry?

© lauriebuchanan.com

63 thoughts on “DNA Blueprint

  1. No, I have not. My kids were talking about it, but I don’t think anything’s been done. I wonder, does it matter? I am who I am, ethnicisity not withstanding. ]

  2. I haven’t either. I’ve read about it and it seems that depending on which company you use, the results can be very different. Even identical twins are different so…

  3. That’s a great sign, Laurie.
    I did do a DNA test, though I’ve read since, like Olga, that results can be different and probably less than precise. I was hoping to find something unexpected, but mine was Eastern European Jewish–I forget the exact percentage, but it was something like 93%. Daughter did one with a different company, and it seemed like a pretty even match between mine and what we know of my husband’s. Are those your results above?

  4. It has never occurred to me to have my DNA tested. I thought people only did that for forensic reasons or to prove paternity rights! I believe we are all a mixture of bloods and cultures, which I love and, personally, I am convinced I have Arab and Celtic ancestry.

  5. yes. When I wrote my childhood memoir, I asked my brother to do the DNA sample for the Hershey family line. I was delighted to discover that the migration of our DNA passed from east Africa to Turkey to alpine Europe and to the UK. This is a gross summary of an extensive report. I knew I was Swiss/German, but what I had not known before the test was that I was also Celt in the distant past. Since Celtic Christian spirituality has influenced me in recent years, I like to imagine that those ancestors are still living in my spirit.

    • Shirley — How fun that you received “bonus” information you weren’t aware of before—a Celt in the distant past. And the icing on the cake is it has special meaning for you. 🙂

  6. Yes! I’ve actually done 2 different tests and it was interesting to see the different percentages between the tests. In addition, we’ve had quite a few people in the family done. My daughter and husband participated. Then we got my father, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law to participate. It’s been fun to “fill in the holes” of my mother (who passed in 1969). Also, got connected to family on my mother’s side that I never knew! It’s been a wonderful adventure!

  7. Great sign!!! I am planning to send for my DNA report and ask one of my brothers as well. My genealogy research (dating back to early 1800’s in Europe) for our 4 surnames show our lineage comes from Germany, Poland and one paternal great great grandmother shown as born in Ireland (unsure if she was Irish by ethnicity).My paternal great grandfather’s second wife was from Norway (I love that she had a millinery shop at that time). But, there are indicators that since our ancestors lived in northern Germany, we may actually have Danish DNA (numerous wars shifted the boundaries of Germany, Denmark and other countries over the centuries). Perhaps, we may even have had Viking ancestors. The first Denecke with this spelling, was a Peter Denecke in 1405 (per research by German Denecke’ s with earlier spelling). To your point, Laurie, celebrating diversity is the key. We are all closer kin than we might know.

    • Audrey — I think it’s neat that you already know so much about your family’s roots. And I agree with your assessment wholeheartedly: “CELEBRATING DIVERSITY I KEY—WE ARE ALL CLOSER KIN THAN WE MIGHT KNOW.” 🙂

  8. I did Laurie, and I just got the results back last week! I’m 56% British, 26% Scandinavian, 9% German/French, and I do believe the rest is Northern Europe (but not specified). No surprise on the first two for me! LOL Cher xo

  9. That’s a neat shop inside too. I used to make maps, so I’m kind of drawn to those places. I have not done a DNA test. I’ve heard they are kind of dubious, but don’t have any evidence to back that up. As a fiction guy, I can also see a database of DNA being misused by someone. Look at what got Facebook into the news lately.

  10. I’ve not done a DNA test, but I assume my results would be much like Shirley’s since my Mennonite ancestors followed the Switzerland –> Germany –> Netherlands –> America route in the early 1700s. My father called me Pocahontas when I was young though, so maybe there was a maverick in my genealogy somewhere. Ha!

    • Marian — Your father calling you Pocahontas when you were young made me smile. Like you said, you may have “a maverick” in your geneaology, which I think would make it all the more interesting 🙂

  11. That is a cool sign. Your DNA results are fun and interesting. Like Fatima, I think of it more for solving crimes or parentage. We have done extensive family history that goes quite far back in Germany and Poland. In the end, we are all related, aren´t we?

  12. Haven’t done it, thought about it occasionally, but probably won’t unless the test becomes incredibly inexpensive. Based on what I know of my ancestry, I figure I’m pretty much a mix of Scandinavian and British with a bit of Scots and maybe Irish. Rather boring i.m.o.


  13. Love the sign! Very creative character !
    No I have not done a DNA testing, not aware of anyone in our family having done so at this point. The Stroud side of the family’s name was changed from Strobe or something like that. Pennsylvania Dutch?

  14. Our children and grandchildren gave us Ancestry DNA tests for our 50th Anniversary, last April.
    I was curious to know confirm my Spanish/Sephardi Jewish DNA.
    My paternal grandmother’s maiden name was Benzuly or Ben Azuly, which means Son of Azuly in Hebrew. My grandmother had very dark skin and hair. I remember her always being fascinated by my red hair, fair skin, and freckles.
    I was delighted when the test confirmed the I do have DNA from the Iberian peninsula.

  15. My grandparents wore their ancestry. My Icelandic-Canadian grandparents spoke Icelandic. My English-Canadian grandmother was a walking billboard for her country of origin. But my parents maintained that they were Canadian, no hyphen necessary. Me? Up until very recently, I held tight to those hyphens. I dug up my roots and showed them to people when they asked–and sometimes when they didn’t. And now… I wonder does it matter? Are we much better off if we abandon self-definitions that divide and embrace definitions that unite? Am I a world citizen?

  16. I had my DNA tested a year ago at the genetics center at University of Washington. The Ancestry results were interesting and then I paid for a genetics expert to read the medical message behind all that spit!!!! (Very Expensive and very useful info) I also did an ancestry/ medical DNA check for my adopted daughter as she has cleft palate in her background, we have not paid for the genetics reading for her but she was very relieved to know that she can not pass on a cleft palate for this generation coming up (her children) Although born Korean – all that Japanese heritage that showed up indicated that her grandmother was part of the ethnic cleansing by the Japanese during WWII ( a rape victim for sure)

    I already knew my family was from the UK via Canada and it goes back generations, as my father was from Scotland and my mum from England. Seeing the Irish influence was fun too. Then many generations back was the Scandinavian influence. More importantly was learning that I have contributed to my children’s Celiac Disease and their kidney weakness.

    I have changed my eating patterns tremendously and am feeling much better these days. I am the only diabetic for nearly 20 generations – they are assuming that is from eating USA processed food, which is now creating an epidemic wherever our processed foods go, but I did not pass that on to my children.

    Really too much inbreeding in my background – the British should have connected with more Africans, Asians, and Latinos over the years. The health benefits would have been amazing.

  17. Hi Laurie,

    To answer your direct question – no, have not had an ancestral DNA mapping done, yet.

    And DNA is interesting at so many different levels.

    As my old biochem lecturer was fond of saying, it is much less like a blueprint, and much more lie a recipe, and like in any recipe, the environmental variables can make all the difference. To grow a baby human from a single fertilised cell, the environment of the mother’s womb needs to be controlled to very narrow limits across a vast array of conditions, not simply temperature and pressure, but all manner of chemical limits like salt and sugar concentration, alcohol concentration, many different hormones, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fats, etc….
    Any variations will have effects, and some can be severely handicapping if they happen at critical stages in the process (like fetal alcohol syndrome).

    And DNA is interesting in many other ways, also.

    The rate of “error” in replication is very important. One of the many different levels of our being where we must have a balance between order and chaos, and that balance is very context sensitive.

    Too little order (too much chaos), and the ability to sustain complexity degrades to the point of destruction.
    Too much order (too little chaos) and nothing much happens (evolutionarily speaking – things remain simple replicators). One needs enough variation for natural selection to work on, but not so much that complexity cannot sustain itself.
    And that boundary can be very context sensitive, even within a single strand of DNA, depending on whether it codes for an enzyme, or for some part of the immune targeting system for example.

    So DNA, and its sister family of molecules RNA, are vital to life in many different respects, and the complexity of life seems to be the result of those things that happened to have a balance appropriate to their particular contexts.

    That boundary between order and chaos seems to be important at about 20 different levels (many of them conceptual and cultural).

    So rather than a blueprint, it seems much more like a recipe, a guidebook in a sense, for a suite of processes that necessarily contain fundamental uncertainty, at the same time as they deliver and support profoundly complex pattern.

  18. That is a very cool sign! I know a lot about my ancestry, but I have a test sitting here and I haven’t yet submitted it. I am curious if there will be any surprises! 🙂

  19. Yes, we have had our DNA tested and received some fascinating surprises when the results came in. One was that I am 12% Italian/Greek! The paper trail hasn’t led me there yet. And Tim is 20% Irish. I love the quote! Celebrating diversity does cultivate unity, in my humble opinion. 🙂

  20. Laurie, I have not had one done although my brother has, mostly Upper-Mediterranean extraction, big surprise there, considering we thought we were the spawn of Viking raiders in the British Isles. My husband who was very proud of his Native American genetics has discovered he is more Northern European and Scandinavian than his blonde-haired and blue-eyed wife! Another good reason to not judge a book by it’s cover.

  21. What a good idea I have never given it a thought. I have always been led to believe that I have Welsh and Irish ancestry even though I was born English but who knows . I always had a secret suspicion I’m Celtic 😉

  22. I have not unfortunately, but this is a fascinating proposition Laurie. My own ancestry is 100% Italian on both sides (specifically one-half Abruzzi, one-quarter Bodaise, one-quarter Naples. Lucille is Italian, English and Irish.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.