I found a recent newspaper particularly interesting. A 15 yr old boy wanted to find his father, but he was the product of an anonymous sperm donation. Trying to explore as far as he could, he did what any good genealogist does. He started with what he has: his own Y chromosome.
Y chromosome analysis is a common test with new, specialized laboratories now devoted to conducting it. Many family associations involved with genealogy pool together to do studies to see if the Y chromosomes of their male members match or are similar. For example, using Y chromosome studies, labs can tell whether this Northern clan of Yahoocytes is related genetically to that Southern Yahoocyte family. Or if this stray Googlehorn stem belongs in the greater Googlehorn branch. If related, they'll discern how closely or distantly, depending on the mutations involved when compared to the anticipated frequency of mutations.
It is helpful for relations in general, but not necessarily in relationships, except, for example, if Junior doesn't match Senior, but the Mrs. really enjoyed her milk deliveries.
This 15 yo boy thought he might find the country of origin of his father, little more. His results, however, revealed two men, strangers to each other, who all had a 50% change sharing the same father, grandfather, or great grandfather. The men also had similar last names, but had different spellings, according to the findings in database at Family Tree DNA of Houston.
This bright 15 yo decided to take things a bit further. With the donor paperwork his mother received, he knew the birthdate of his father. He took his search to OmniTrace.com, obtaining a list of all the people born on that date.
You guessed it. One had the same surname as the two Y chromosome relations. He has contacted his father, but the details were not released.
Now there's a website paralleling the efforts of the still anonymous boy, Donor Sibling Registry, whereby information on donors is collected with the goal of matching up half-siblings from common donors.
Judging from what I read at the site, there are an awful lot of donors who were Ph.D. candidates or medical school interns. I figure this kid got a sizable chunk of his gray matter from daddy.
Of course, ethicists are split as to whether the interests of the boy (and other donor children) supersede that of the donor or whether this fiasco will unravel the entire donor community.
What do you think?