A very 'forensic' Christmas

DNA Ancestry kit is the best/worst holiday gift depending on the expected/unexpected results.

This is either a mildly interesting gift idea or a way to ruin the holidays/someone's life.


The DNA Ancestry Project has produced a CD-ROM Participation Kit that gives you information on your family history and heritage. Packages range from $119 to $199, not including shipping. The interactive features allow users to collaborate with other project participants to research his or her own ethnic and national origins back 150,000 years ago.


For a fun C.S.I.-style twist, there's a cheek swab kit included. The DNA Ancestry Project will trade you the stuff you've scraped off the inside of your mouth for your DNA results. The results, says Genetrak Biolabs, the project sponsor, let users "match yourself and other family members to famous people, like Genghis Khan and Marie Antoinette."

Here's where this gets interesting. What if you find out you're related to, say, Milosevic, or Mussolini? Worst holiday ever, right? But what if the results reveal you're a distant cousin of Martin Luther King, Jr., or even Martin Luther? A fabulous new story to tell your friends, or at least a new fact for your "About Me" section on MySpace.