As DNA is passed down from one generation to the next, some parts remain almost unchanged. This creates an unbreakable link between generations and it can be of great help in reconstructing our family histories.
While it can’t provide you with your entire family tree or tell you who your ancestors are, DNA testing can:
- Determine if two people are related
- Determine if two people descend from the same ancestor
- Find out if you are related to others with the same surname
- Prove or disprove your family tree research
- Provide clues about your ethnic origin
DNA tests have been around for many years, but it is only recently that the cost of genetic testing has finally come down into the realm of possibility for the average individual interested in tracing their roots. Home DNA test kits can be ordered through the mail or over the Internet at a cost averaging $100-$400 per test. They usually consist of a cheek swab or mouthwash to easily collect a sample of cells from the inside of your mouth. You send back the sample through the mail and within a month or two you receive the results – a series of numbers that represent key chemical “markers” within your DNA. These numbers can then be compared to results from other individuals to help you determine your ancestry.
There are three types of genealogical DNA tests, autosomal (atDNA), mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and Y-Chromosome (Y-DNA). Autosomal tests for all ancestry. Y-DNA tests a male along his direct paternal line. mtDNA tests a man or woman along their direct maternal line.
Any of these tests can be used to some degree for recent genealogy or for ethnic ancestry.
Offers DNA testing and resources to learn ancestry and personal health information
Offers DNA testing for the purpose of determining ancestral pedigrees
Offers DNA testing with a focus on tracing the ancestry of people of African descent back to the present-day African country of origin
Information on DNA genealogy
AncestryDNA, a subsidiary of Ancestry.com
DNA is for D – working through the alphabet for the April Blogging A-Z Challenge.