DNA test kit mix-up: Results show black woman is 97 percent white

A mix-up with a popular direct-to-consumer DNA test caused some confusion for a Chicago area woman.

“I just want to learn as much I can about my history,” Jennifer Smith says. Smith submitted a saliva sample to AncestryDNA, and after weeks of waiting, received surprising results: 97 percent European.

“I was shocked,” Smith says. “I’m black. My parents are black.”

Smith says she contacted Ancestry, who assured her the results were accurate. “She told me there was no way they could have made an error.”

Smith decided to submit her DNA again, this time to 23andMe. “The results were very different, but they were not a surprise to me.” The 23andMe results showed she was 70 percent African. “Both kits can’t be right. One of them has to be wrong.”

Ancestry says it is incredibly unusual to find variations of this magnitude, and that the tubes may have been mixed up before they were sent to their lab.

Smith says Ancestry later apologized and sent her another kit for retesting. This time, the results were more in line what she expected: mostly West African. She says she has since been contacted by several relatives and is satisfied with the new results.