SPECIAL REPORT: How connected are we?

Special Report

At home DNA kits are being used to reunite families and discover the unknown

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/ KFTA) — While DNA genetic testing is not a new phenomenon, it has become more readily available for the everyday consumer.

Companies like Ancestry and 23andMe make the process as simple as providing a saliva sample and mailing it off for processing while allowing customers to unlock a whole world of questions, that could lead to answers.

It’s stories like those of Cassie Strickland, a current COVID-19 FEMA nurse whose life was changed about seven years ago when she learned she had a half-sister she had never met.

It was the 23andMe DNA kit that made it possible. Strickland found out her mother had given up a baby for adoption in 1989.

“My mother fainted when we told her. She was at work, I had to get her supervisor. It was a closed adoption. Attorneys were involved so we had no means of getting in touch with her at all so the last resort was the 23 and me DNA kit” said Strickland.

It was her newly discovered sister’s curiosity that initiated the reunion.

“When the DNA matched, we asked our sister; What made you get the kit? She said she was curious to know who her parents were and who her family was. She was curious to know and her adoptive parents bought her the kit,” added Strickland.

23andMe said the company is increasingly hearing stories of families discovering and reuniting with newfound relatives, and of customers finding unexpected results in their reports.

Although 23andMe was not designed specifically to help people confirm parentage or find biological parents, the company’s DNA Relatives tool does help people find and connect with participating genetic relatives. This feature is completely optional.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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