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"Just a Piece"

While direct-to-consumer genetic tests can deliver some shocking results, they can also give less scandalous, but still surprising results, according to NPR.

Its reporter, Gisele Grayson, and her mother, Carmen Grayson, underwent Helix's genetic testing. While Carmen Grayson's results indicated that about a third of her ancestry could be traced to Italy and Southern Europe, Gisele Grayson's results didn't even have that category, according to NPR. Similarly, when they sought 23andMe testing, Carmen Grayson was 25 percent southern European, but Gisele Grayson was a much smaller percentage of southern European ancestry.

While Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Aravinda Chakravarti tells Gisele Grayson that such results are surprising, they "may still be in the limits of error that these methods have." He notes that ancestry tests are most accurate at the continental level and become less so as they drill down to particular locations. Helix's Elissa Levin also tells Grayson that while she inherited half of her mother's genes, she didn't necessarily inherit half of the markers that would be tagged as being found among Italians.

"So, for now, my Italian grandmother doesn't show up in these tests," Grayson writes at NPR. "No matter … [t]he DNA is just a piece of what makes you you."