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Illustration: Janet Sung

Illustration: Janet Sung


Surprise DNA Results Are Turning Customer-Service Reps Into Therapists

How do you tell someone that her brother is not her brother?

Updated on

It was a one-line chat reply from an AncestryDNA customer-service rep that ripped Catherine St Clair’s life apart.

St Clair, 57, is her family’s resident genealogist and had sent her saliva to Ancestry for testing. So when her brother Mike showed up as a “first cousin or close relative,” she assumed it must be a glitch. Even stranger: The test showed that someone she had never heard of was a much closer genetic match than Mike.