While Katr was away last week, I set up a command centre on our couch. I had two computers, the phone, all the remotes, various knitting projects and the dog within reach. While the set-up was certainly both convenient and delightful (well, to me - the dog doesn't love it with I pet her with my feet), it was far from ergonomically correct and as a result, the afternoon that Katr was arriving home, I became suddenly, and seriously, fucked up.
My whole left side was just one giant muscle/nerve scream of unthinkable horror. I could barely move. I could barely sleep. Advil did NOTHING. Ditto, booze. I was moving around like Joan Cusack with the neck brace in Sixteen Candles.
The incredible searing pain I caused myself by SITTING ON THE COUCH TOO LONG got me thinking about how embarrassing it would be to explain this kind of ergonomic injury to anyone who actual did physical labour, like my great-grandmother, who plowed many a field in her day. And then I started thinking about ancestors in general and then I remembered, through my Robaxicet haze, that I had recently participated in a glossy, scientific ancestry project and that it might be time to check back for my test results! You know, before the morphine kicked in and I forgot my own name.
Back in December, Katr and I each got this cool kit to test out from the DNA Ancestry Project. We got the kits for free, because Katr is a prominent blogger and I am her shameless hanger-on. The idea seemed to be that you submit a DNA sample for a test that would tell you about your geneological origins and which haplogroup you belonged to. And then, to get the results, you have to join an associated social networking site over at genebase.com. Once you get your DNA results, I guess they expect you to then hang out and swap Stone Age anecdotes with other members of your group. Ha ha - remember Grog? What a lardass! But man, could that bastard bring down a mastodon...
I was very taken with this whole idea; being able to trace your maternal line back 50,000 years is not only scientifically cool but is also, to history nerds like me, a very romantic notion. I felt as though taking the test would launch me on an epic adventure of discovery, complete with wind-swept steppes, roving herds of mammoth and also, toilets and running water, because it's my fantasy and I don't like shitting in the woods.
Eager to begin, Katr and I opened the test kits and started by swabbing the insides of our cheeks (just like on CSI!) I pretended Jorja Fox was doing mine. I casually asked her out on a date. Katr, swabbing next to me, said "It'll be hard for them to test your DNA if that swab gets lodged down your throat." I came back with a snappy retort that caused me to choke on my swab.
We sealed our envelopes and sent off the swabs. And today, we checked our Genebase accounts for our results. Katr loved every minute of it. As for me, I got a prediction of which haplogroup I belong to (F), a chart of gene mutation numbers that I didn't really understand and some content on the origins and migration of the group:
Time: Emerged approx 50,000 years ago
Place: Originated in Central Asia
The woman who founded Haplogroup F lived approximately 50,000 years ago in Central Asia and represents one of the founding East Asian lineages. Descendents of the Haplogroup F migrated throughout Asia.
Today, descendents of Haplogroup F can be found throughout Asia, including China, Korea and Japan and Southeast Asia, including aboriginal Taiwanese populations, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Polynesia, and Vietnam.
So, according to the test, I'm of Asian descent. Which would explain my karate chop laugh and sumo wrestler-like physique. Of course, there's only a 36% chance I'm Asian. For more specific results, I have to take TWO MORE DNA TESTS. The cost of each test? $129.
That's it? I mean, amazing technology aside, that's all the info I get? A list of numbers and a blurb and an invitation to give them more money for more accurate results? Considering your average Joe ALREADY had to pay $129 for these initial results, I think that's assaholic.
I have to say, when you encourage people to explore their geneological past, some of them are only interested in the science, sure. But I bet most people are looking for a little narrative too. I want a little Clan of the Cave Bear. I want a little 10,000 B.C. $129 and no handjob from Jondalar? Nice try, Genebase. Nice try.
In other news, when I went looking for the Clan of the Cave Bear link, I discovered that author Jean M. Auel had penned another book in her "Ayla, the cave woman who invented modern medicine, animal domestication, the blowjob and possibly, in this next book, the wheel" series. Why had no one told me? Those were the historical fiction/hot sex books of my youth! The new book, The Shelters of Stone, costs $10 and a handjob from Jondalar is practically guaranteed. I think you can guess where my money will be going.