UCL Division of Biosciences


More pseudoscience from BritainsDNA

BritainsDNA uses press releases and interviews to make claims that appear to be scientific but have little if any support. As far as we are aware, the claims discussed below have not been subject to the scientific process of peer review, for example through publication in a scientific journal.  In most cases it seems unlikely that they could be published in a reputable journal because the claims have little basis: science is about testing theories against competing alternatives; most of the claims described here appear to be story-telling based on only a loose connection with the evidence.  They do not seem intended as contributions to knowledge but are only media promotions of BritainsDNA. This is disappointing because it undermines public understanding of science, will eventually feed public mistrust of science, and distract attention from serious research into understanding human history from genetic and other evidence.  It is even more disappointing to note that the Chief Scientific Officer of BritainsDNA is a scientist at Edinburgh University who should appreciate the evidence required to support such claims (discussed further in the links below).

This tweet from Aylwyn Scally mocking BritainsDNA press releases captures the problem well:

PR attack on the BBC

BritainsDNA press releases

Some problematic press coverage

Understanding genetic ancestry testing