You swab your cheek or spit into a vial, then send it away to a lab somewhere. Weeks later you get a report that might tell you where your ancestors came from or if you carry certain genetic risks. Or the report could reveal a long-buried family secret and upend your entire sense of identity.
In “The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are,” journalist Libby Copeland investigates what happens when we embark on a vast social experiment with little understanding of the ramifications. Copeland explores the culture of genealogy buffs, the science of DNA, and the business of companies like Ancestry and 23andMe, all while tracing the story of one woman, her unusual results, and a relentless methodical drive for answers that becomes a thoroughly modern genetic detective story.
Libby Copeland is an award-winning journalist and author who writes from New York about culture, science, and human behavior. As a freelance journalist, she writes for such media outlets as The Atlantic, Slate, New York, Smithsonian, The New York Times, The New Republic, Esquire.com, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Glamour.
A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she was a 2010 media fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Her article for Esquire.com, “Kate’s Still Here,” won Hearst Magazines’ 2017 Editorial Excellence Award for “reported feature or profile.” She previously won first prize in the feature specialty category from the Society for Features Journalism (then called AASFE). She lives in Westchester, NY, with her husband and two children.