Finding new kin

Writer Corey Kilgannon in the NY Times writes about a "DNA reunion:"

Ms. Higginsen, who runs a school for gospel singers in the brownstone, had organized this special family reunion to welcome to Harlem a newfound cousin she recently discovered through DNA testing.
And in walked the new cousin: a Missouri cattle rancher named Marion West, 76. It was Mr. West's first visit to New York City, and he stood out partly because of his rancher outfit: black cowboy hat, shiny boots, string tie and a jacket advertising a feed company. But he also stood out because he was a white man greeted by a roomful of black New Yorkers embracing him as a long-lost member of their family.

This is really an interesting story. Higginson persuaded her paternal uncle to get the Y chromosome profile, which led to West; both are descended from the initial Jamestown founders.

The article covers the occasional conflicts between race self-identification and ancestry, mentions the recent Al Sharpton-Strom Thurmond connection, and the rancher's intuitive understanding of outbreeding:

He brought laughter to the room when he spoke of cattle breeding.
"I've been breeding cattle all my life, and I'll tell you, cross-breeding is better," he said. "You mate the black angus with the other breeds, and you have better, healthier offspring."

I can think of no better way to illustrate that this kind of genetic testing is going mainstream.