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The Sunday Read: ‘Sigrid Johnson Was Black. A DNA Test Said She Wasn’t’


It all started when Sigrid E. Johnson was 62. She got a call from an old friend, asking her to participate in a study about DNA ancestry tests and ethnic identity. She agreed.

Ms. Johnson thought she knew what the outcome would be. When she was 16, her mother told her that she had been adopted as an infant. Her biological mother was an Italian woman from South Philadelphia, and her father was a Black man.

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The results, however, told a different story.

Today on The Sunday Read, what the growth in DNA testing, with its surprises and imperfections, means for people’s sense of identity.

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Additional production for The Sunday Read was contributed by Parin Behrooz, Marion Lozano, Carson Leigh Brown, Anna Diamond, Elena Hecht, Desiree Ibekwe, Emma Kehlbeck, Tanya Perez, Kelly Rogers, Margaret Willison and Kate Winslett. Special thanks to Mike Benoist, Sam Dolnick, Laura Kim, Julia Simon, Lisa Tobin, Blake Wilson and Ryan Wegner.


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