At San Jose’s Piedmont Hills High School, biotechnology students tested their own DNA for a genetic marker that originated in central China or Taiwan. Seventeen students share a common ancestry — but not a common race. Check out the caption on the photo:
Piedmont Hills High students who share a common ancestor include, from left, Simon Bao (Chinese and Vietnamese), Beth Gomes (white), Aaron Saini (Indian), Austin Buckner (African-American and Japanese), Michael Huynh (Chinese and Vietnamese) and Andrew Tran (Vietnamese).
Students began to question the racial and ethnic categories they’ve been taught to recognize.
Junior Aaron Saini, whose family comes from northern India, was surprised to learn that he has more in common genetically with classmate Christine Gonzalez, who is half Mexican and half European, than with Sefali Patel, whose heritage is also northern Indian.
After the lab experiment, junior Michael Huynh walked outside the classroom and saw a friend, who is Indian, in a different light.
“He was just standing there in the hallway, and I was just looking at him and thinking, `Wow. He may look different, but there’s no real separation between us,’ ” the 16-year-old said.