Monday, March 23, 2009

DNA success story - an elusive father

There is an excellent article titled DNA reveals story of dad's disappearance in today's issue of the News & Observer (Raleigh NC area) by Ruth Sheehan.

The gist of the story is the father of John Smithers, now age 82, disappeared when John was a young boy. Some key graphs:

"John Smithers of Raleigh had spent more than six decades looking for clues about the father who abandoned him, his sister and their mother when he was just a baby. The barrel-chested, brash-talking Smithers had something he wanted to give his old man: a fist in the nose.

"At 82, he had about given up on ever learning what happened to James William Smithers. He had long suspected his father got in trouble with the law and fled abroad. Decades ago, it was easy enough to disappear, and Smithers' father had seemingly vanished into thin air.

"On the other side of the world, Lucinda Gray had always wondered what her father's life was like before he moved mysteriously from the United States to Australia. She had spent years just trying to find out his real name.

"In mid-December, Smithers and Gray learned their elusive fathers were one and the same."

Please read the whole thing - there is a second page. It's pretty positive about using DNA tests to discover a common ancestry, but doesn't go into any technical detail about it.

Thanks to reader and ProGen colleague Jeffrey Vaillant for sending this article to me.

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