The Lost Family


How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are

The Washington Post calls The Lost Familyan entertaining and impressively comprehensive field guide to the rapidly evolving world of genetic testing. Strap on your seat belt, because this is not your gray-haired father’s harmless hobby. At times it reads like an Agatha Christie mystery with twists and red herrings. But it is also a philosophy book and an ethics treatise, with a touch of true crime. It wrestles with some of the biggest questions in life: Who are we? What is family? Are we defined by nature, nurture or both?” 

“Before You Spit in That Vial, Read This Book.”

The New York Times

“A fascinating account of lives dramatically affected by genetic sleuthing.”

The Wall Street Journal

Copeland takes readers inside America’s first DNA testing lab dedicated to genealogy, to Salt Lake City’s Family History Library—the largest genealogical research facility in the world—and into the living rooms of dozens of people whose lives have been turned upside down due to the results of a recreational DNA test. It is at once a hard look at the forces behind a historical mass reckoning that is happening all across America, and an intimate portrait of the people living it.”


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Libby Copeland is an award-winning journalist who writes about culture, science and human behavior. Copeland was a reporter and editor at the The Washington Post for eleven years, has been a media fellow and guest lecturer, and has made numerous appearances on television and radio. Read more…