Since the demand for genetic analysis of ancestry DNA has greatly increased, so have the methods used to carry out the task as further research and techniques have come to light. It has now become more confusing for those considering such testing, as they are unsure which DNA tests to choose and which information will be retrieved from each test.
When this was a newfound scientific development, it was straightforward with only one service provided, but now there are many more tools and more testing companies. It can, understandably, be difficult to understand how to get the best results.
Take a look at the three different types of ancestry DNA tests below. Hopefully, these details will add some clarity to your choices.
Y-DNA testing focuses on testing the Y chromosomes, which are passed down from father to son. This test is restricted to men only as only men carry the Y chromosomes within their genetic make-up. This can cause envy from women who are hoping to do some research via testing. However, they can persuade their fathers or brothers to take part in the testing so they can discover the Y-DNA results.
Once received, the results of this test are then compared among different males to see if they are related in a genealogical timeframe. Through this analysis, deep ancestry can be defined and discovered. There are only a limited number of providers that offer this gene testing; however, many consider it invaluable in terms of genetic genealogy research.
mtDNA stands for mitochondrial DNA, and this is passed down only from the mothers; however, it can be passed down to either gender of her children. It’s important to note that males can be carriers of their mothers’ mitochondrial DNA but they cannot pass it on to their own children.
Mutations of this DNA can be compared to determine whether people share ancestors within the same genealogical timeframe; however, this can be difficult as surnames change often in for women in any generation. There is great demand among scientists for a general central database whereby they could check if others from the same genetic line have already had this test. Mitochondrial DNA also provides a haplogroup, which can define deeper ancestry such as European, African, Asian, or Native American.
There are a variety of providers that offer this testing, and it is sometimes used by medical professionals when determining the cause of unknown illnesses or disabilities in children.
3. Autosomal DNA
Considering what we have discussed above, autosomal DNA tests the rest of the DNA from both parents on the 23 chromosomes and is a much broader test than the two DNA tests described above. The older versions of this testing method were able to test between 21 and 300 markers, but more advanced techniques now allow us to test as many as 700,000 locations. These tests have significantly advanced within the field.
This test is perhaps the most useful and accurate for genealogists. You can be provided with a full list of all of your cousins and distant family members; however, you will need to determine exactly how these people are related to you. The companies that provide this test will allow you to download your own raw data results as well, so you can work with the data and continue further on your quest to discover your full family history using a variety of tools available on the internet.
Autosomal testing can also provide you with an estimated percentage of your ethnicities.
There is a small selection of different routes you can choose on your journey to discovering where you came from. With various offerings online, it’s always best to check out reviews and ensure you’re using a reputable and experienced testing company.