By Teri L. Hansen
The McPherson County Historical Society will meet at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the McPherson Museum & Arts Foundation, 1111 E. Kansas Ave. in McPherson. The meeting will include a special presentation by Director of the McPherson Public Library Steve Read called “The X and Y of Our DNA.”
“It is an overview of how DNA testing is being used in a historical and genealogical sense and how we can benefit from it individually,” Read said.
With the amazing strides in DNA research it has gone from a questionable science, to being commonly used not just in criminal investigation, but in genealogy and heritage research.
“I’ve always found all aspects of DNA to be fascinating. I can still recite the matching sequence of the DNA nucleotide pairs from college,” Read explained.
Read holds a bachelor’s degree in history and biology from Kansas Wesleyan University as well as a master’s degree in librarianship from the University of Denver. Read has had his own DNA researched and has helped others in researching their family histories for more than 30 years.
“The news media and DNA testing companies tend to exaggerate the capabilities of DNA testing,” Read said. “I hope to bring some clarity to that situation.”
Read plans to address DNA testing and the types of testing available, how to interpret the results as well dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions some may have about DNA research.
“ If you’re interested in how DNA can be used to solve historical or family history mysteries— including your own, this is a good opportunity to learn what it can and cannot do,” Read said. “DNA testing is amazing, but it rarely stands alone—it’s just another research tool.”