Customers are being charged up to £300 to learn whether they have links to famous people or societies despite the fact many of the tests are not backed up by scientific evidence, experts said.
The amount of DNA any individual inherits from relatives just a few steps up their family tree is negligible compared with the vast amount we all share from common ancestors.
It means any ancestral "history" identified by a simple genetic test is just one of dozens of possible interpretations, and to try to trace our lineage directly through our genes is "absurd", they claimed.
Private genetic tests have become big business in recent years, with many companies offering tests which claim to identify whether people are related to famous figures such as Napoleon or Cleopatra, or have DNA from specific racial groups.
Last year the website ancestry.com was valued at $1.6 billion (£1 billion) and at least 40 companies offer genetic ancestry tests around the world for prices between £30 and £30
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