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Library Presentation to Highlight DNA Testing's Advances

Whether for medical or personal reasons, more and more people are having their DNA tested. Should you?

DNA testing may be famous for helping solve police mysteries, but there are other mysteries that can be solved with a study of genetic material.

Some people are finding it's a useful way to uncover more information about thier own families, opening doors to information predating even the oldest family histories—that proved to be the case for Hillsborough resident Walter Choroszewski, who will be leading a presentation on DNA testing at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Hillsborough Public Library.

Choroszewski's presentation— "ABC’s of DNA: Genetic Genealogy and Personal Genomics"— will include his personal experiences using DNA testing for genealogical and medical purposes. For example, while he said he knew his family name was Polish in origin, he didn't know how far back his Polish roots extended. As it turned out, those roots proved to be very deep.

"Genetically I am considered a 'Proto-Pole' as my paternal ancestors were the first to settle today's Poland about 3,000 years ago," he said. "This haplogroup (or clan) represents only 12 percent of Polish men."  

He notes that while ethnic identity tells one where relatives have lived in last few hundred years, DNA tetsing can tell you where your relatives lived 10,000 or even 100,000 years ago. In Choroszewski's case, he learend his haplogroup originated in the Caucuses, near Black Sea and Caspian Sea, then spread northward to Eastern Europe and westward to Central Asia, Northern India and Siberia.

He said it was that "deep ancestry" that initially drew his interest in DNA testing, and he quickly came to realize how closely all humans are realted.

Many library patrons are familiar with Choroszewski, who's a regular presenter at the library. He often discusses and shows his photography, of which he's published several books of collected works, and other topics of interest.

His talk will include information on companies offering DNA testing, as well as how to use to learn more about one's genetic information, including infomration that can be helpful for doctors and the growing field of "Personal Genomics." 

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