Calling all Moynihans

Jan. 23, 2019

Moynihan is my maiden name. I don’t know much about my genealogy but this is what I’ve been told: (a) my father is Irish. (Moynihan); (b) my fraternal grandmother was Irish. (MacGuire); (c) my mother is English. (Mason); (d) my maternal grandmother was German. (Schneegold); and (e) there are no more male Moynihans (in my immediate family) to pass on the Moynihan name.

I’ll know more in six to eight weeks, when my AncestryDNA results come back.

Parents and children share 50 percent of their DNA with one another. Therefore, testing my parents will help deduce which of my own ethnicities and DNA matches come from which parent. So, for Christmas I gave each parent a kit. Neither were tap dancing over the idea, but each are willing to participate.

Coincidentally, our Christmas Eve family convo was thick in the topic of DNA testing. Just days prior, a local news story reported a man’s arrest and conviction for a 20-year-old murder, traced back to one of his family member’s DNA. Surprisingly, my in-laws personally knew this murderer, and opinions started flying! “Oh, heck no!” “No one is going to clone me!” “There’s no telling who will get ahold of it!” “Big Brother won’t be watching me!” And so down the rabbit hole the conversation went.

I just opened my kit today. I learned some new things, like the kit expires after one year of purchase and samples aren’t taken via mouth swab, but a vial for spit, along with a liquid solution that stabilizes the DNA in the saliva. What it didn’t tell me was where my saliva will be tested. A “DNA Processing Lab” is all I could find. However, after further research, I learned AncestryDNA samples have been outsourced to Quest Diagnostics’ 200,000 square foot reference lab in Marlborough, MA since 2017.1

Knowing that all Quest Diagnostics’ testing locations are appropriately licensed/certified by CLIA 88 and adhere to state laboratory licensure programs gave me more confidence—as we all know, accuracy is dependent on the quality of the laboratory’s testing procedures. The collaboration between Ancestry and Quest is a great example of a company relying on clinical diagnostic labs to perform services for its customers. It also illustrates the need for clinicians and laboratory professionals to remain current on industry trends in ways that might help their labs to increase profit and provide value-added services to consumers.

Image courtesy of:

A similar image (shown to the left) was taken by Kristine Russell, MLO Publisher/Executive Editor, and emailed to me when she was in Cork, Ireland a few years ago. Who knows…perhaps this was the seed that initially ignited my genomic curiosity? I really do want to learn more about who I am as an individual and how I connect to the world around me. Especially if it means chickens are in my future!

1. Quest Diagnostics and AncestryDNA Collaborate to Expand Consumer DNA Testing. PR Newswire. Accessed Jan. 10, 2019.