Finding Family: DNA Tests Help Two Strangers Discover They Are Siblings | WYPR

Finding Family: DNA Tests Help Two Strangers Discover They Are Siblings

Nov 19, 2018

Daryle Lowden and Lisa Welchman, siblings reunited by a DNA test.
Credit Photo courtesy Daryle Lowden, Lisa Welchman

As families travel and gather together for Thanksgiving here in the United States, today, a conversation with two people whose interactions with genetic data bases led to revelations about their family that no one in the family had known before. 

The story of Lisa Welchman and Daryle Lowden is poignant and heart-warming.  Daryle is in his forties.  Lisa in in her fifties, and just last spring, they discovered that they are half-brother and sister. 

Today on Midday, we’ll hear their story and talk about how they came to know each other after decades of not having even the slightest inkling that the other existed.  We’ll talk about what it has meant for them, and for the rest of their family.

And we’ll also talk about the intended and unintended consequences of the fast-growing consumer genetic testing industry.  When we submit our DNA to companies like Ancestery.Com or 23 and Me, do we retain control of how and by whom that information can be used?  What is required of these companies when it comes to protecting the privacy of the millions of people who voluntarily share this private information? 

But first, the incredible story of Daryle Lowden and Lisa Welchman.  Daryle Lowden had a 20 year career as a professional musician.  He’s now working as a HR consultant.  He lives in Kingston Upon Thames, England, just outside of London.  He joins us from the studios of the BBC in London…

Lisa Welchman lives here in Baltimore.  She is a tech entrepreneur, who is considered the world’s leading authority on digital governance.  She joins us here in Studio A.