Everyone once in a while I read a news report about long-lost siblings (sometimes twins) who meet for the first time as adults and discover astonishing similarities — they both love languages, they both like wearing denim skirts, and so forth. I always find those stories a bit creepy, frankly. It’s not that I deny that DNA has any effect on our personalities and tastes; but those stories often make it sound as if DNA determines absolutely everything.
So this story, traumatic as it was for the participants, cheered me up a bit:
Keeley Hall, from Perth, Western Australia, and Elizabeth Howard, from Cambridge, had been among the first to register with UK Donor Link, a Government-funded database set up in 2004.
They had been told that their DNA was one of the organisation’s first ‘matches’: they were half-sisters. Overjoyed, they told of the many resemblances between them – their similar eyes and hair, their shared love of languages – and how they already felt like sisters.
But The Mail on Sunday can now reveal that the two women are almost certainly not related at all. In a terrible and distressing mistake, UKDL brought two entirely unrelated women together and told them they were sisters.
DNA matching, the article explains, is a science of probabilities, not certainties. (I wonder how many wrongful convictions have been based on DNA?) Both of the women have since been put in contact with other women who are — really really for sure this time — their biological sisters.
Hat tip: Marriage Debate.