Wendy Roth


  • Wendy Roth (PSC Research Associate) was interviewed for an NPR segment about the potential role of genetic ancestry testing in the growth of the multiracial population in the 2020 Census.

  • Wendy Roth (PSC Research Associate) was interviewed in Maisonneuve about people who discover non-paternity events through DNA testing and how it impacts their identities. Roth's research about genetic testing and identity was also featured in a Consumer Reports article. 


    Illustration by Cécile Gariépy

  • Wendy Roth (PSC Research Associate) was featured in The New York Times and appeared on The Behavior Corner podcast discussing her research on genetic ancestry testing and racial perceptions.

Associate Professor of Sociology

Ph.D., Sociology and Social Policy, Harvard University, 2006

My research focuses primarily on how social processes challenge racial and ethnic boundaries and transform classification systems. I’ve examined this with regard to immigration, interracial marriage and the classification of multiracial children, and genetic ancestry testing. I am also interested in the multiple dimensions of race – how self-identification, observation by others, known ancestry, genetic ancestry, phenotype, and other dimensions are increasingly diverging, and what this means for survey statistics and the racial inequalities they are used to measure.

My current research examines the social impact of genetic ancestry testing, focusing on how tests influence racial and ethnic identity, conceptions of race, racial attitudes, and racial interactions. One project conducted 115 qualitative interviews with people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds who purchased genetic ancestry tests. Another project is a randomized controlled trial that randomly assigns people to receive genetic ancestry tests or not, to study the causal impact of testing.


  • Behavioral Corner Podcast: Wendy Roth on DNA Tests, Race, and Ancestors
  • National Human Genome Research Institute : Wendy Roth on Cherry Picking Italian
  • McGowan Ethics Center : Wendy Roth on "How Do Genetic Ancestry Tests Influence Racial and Ethnic Identity?”