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‘What’s my real identity?’: As DNA ancestry sites gather more data, the answer for consumers often changes

‘What’s my real identity?’: As DNA ancestry sites gather more data, shifting results are causing genetic whiplash.

NEW YORK — 23andMe caused Leonard Kim not one identity crisis but two.

The first came in 2016, when Kim, who was raised believing he was 100% Korean, took the company’s DNA ancestry test and learned he was almost half Japanese. Then, earlier this month, he was out for drinks with his wife and some friends near his Los Angeles home when someone questioned his Japanese ancestry.

So Kim, 34, took out his phone and consulted the 23andMe website. That’s when he discovered his ethnic identity had changed. The site that once told him he was about 40% Japanese now pegged that figure at 5%. He was, in an instant, fully Korean again.

Korea’s history with

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