Ancestry tests which promise to trace people’s origins back for thousands of years are ‘complete bunkum’, a top DNA expert has said.
Such tests have become popular gifts, with users sending a DNA sample off for analysis.
Dr Tom Booth, who worked on the DNA of Cheddar Man, said that after three centuries, it’s not even possible to say whether someone’s ancestors were, for instance, Viking or Saxon.
The tests are also limited by the fact they use DNA from saliva swabs, rather than drilled from bones, as his team did with Cheddar Man.
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Booth said, according to The Telegraph, ‘What I really don’t like about these companies is that they market themselves as linking you to medieval populations, which is complete bunkum, you can’t do that.’
‘The adverts that show they can tell you whether you are Viking or Saxons, I’ve got a problem with that because they can’t.’
‘Because everyone in the 9th century, if they’ve successfully passed on a descendant, is your ancestor.’