Prospective employees with white skin are using the tests to apply as minority candidates, while some with black skin are citing their European ancestry in claiming inheritance rights.
One Christian is using the test to claim Jewish genetic ancestry and to demand Israeli citizenship, and Americans of every shade are staking a DNA claim to Indian scholarships, health services and casino money.
"This is not just somebody's desire to go find out whether their grandfather is Polish," said Troy Duster, a sociologist at New York University who has studied the social impact of the tests. "It's about access to money and power."
Driving the pursuit of genetic bounty are start-up testing companies with names like DNA Tribes and Ethnoancestry. For $99 to $250, they promise to satisfy the human hunger to learn about one's origins — and sometimes much more. On its Web site, a leader in this cottage industry, DNA Print Genomics, once urged people to use it "whether your goal is to validate your eligibility for race-based college admissions or government entitlements."
Apr 12, 2006
Gaming affirmative action
People are using home DNA kits to apply for scholarships--among other things.