So today is #DNADay. We live in amazing times. In the 1950s Watson and Crick first described the crazy macro molecule that carries everything about living species wrapped up in a double helix. A few years ago a massive effort finished mapping out the entire human genome, all the incredible sequences of base pairs, and has been furiously building an amazing database about every manner of inheritance patterns, including predisposition to conditions and diseases. For better or worse, our magical genetic code - "Genes in a Bottle," if you will - is out of the bottle and there's no going back.
Last week I used DNA in combination with good old fashioned careful genealogy detective work to connect with four different lines of my great-great grandfather Andrew McKnight's family. One in Scotland, another in Massachusetts, yet another a transplanted Scot living in Iowa. All completely new to me.
All of us are here because Andrew and his wife Sarah Milliken met in their town in County Down, northern Ireland, fell in love, married and moved to Scotland. They lost several children. He worked in the mines in the lowlands, a hard life in the 1800s. Their stories were handed down in bits and pieces in our families. The same for the nucleotides that had been handed down to them in their genetic code. Because of that, each of us is here. And because we've learned so much about our DNA, now we know each other a little bit.
Happy DNA Day to you, and all of the generations of upright citizens and scandalous rogues that made a perfect you for this world. Most especially to my cousins old and new - a dram to our shared ancestors. I'm lucky to call you family :)