Can DNA Testing Help Determine Genealogy?

Can DNA Testing Help Determine Genealogy?For those who have ever wondered if they are related to others with the same surname, have an uncertain family or personal history, genealogical DNA testing is a viable option. It allows families and individuals to determine familial history, ancestral make-up, and even historic country of origin.

DNA Testing

DNA testing considers the standard 46 chromosomes that each person has from birth. This genetic code does not change and remains fixed throughout a person’s lifetime. The X chromosome comes from the biological mother and the additional X or Y chromosome is inherited from the biological father. Each person contains their unique strand of DNA in each cell.

Genealogical testing is a type of test that can be used to determine information about genealogy or personal ancestry by comparing a person’s results to others from the same lineage or to various ethnic groups, both modern and historic. A genealogical test uses a sample of a person’s cheek swab, which can be collected easily and painlessly. These collected cells are broken down in a solution and the DNA is visualized using specialized equipment. Each person’s unique DNA is recorded and tested against known DNA to determine various facts about their family history.

Benefits of Genealogical Testing

For those who have ever wondered about the origins of their paternal line, specialized equipment available today analyzes a person’s genetic markers. Some of the tests performed can show the migration routes of paternal ancestors or maternal ancestors. Additionally, a person can learn which of 200 populations he or she is most genetically similar to and what proportions of that ancestry comes from the seven continents. For example, a person may learn that his heritage is 50% African and 50% European. This test can also determine a person’s recessive gene variant that they carry. For example, a person can determine if they carry the recessive gene for red hair and whether there is a strong chance of having red-haired children.

Genealogical testing also may generate a list of surnames that appear in a person’s family tree which can help uncover common ancestors between people. Since a shared surname is not necessarily indicative that two people are related, this testing reveals if two people or families are related and, if so, to what extent. Since many people live in an area of the world where certain last names are common, this information helps to resolve any ambiguity in a family tree.
Finally, many people enjoy knowing their origins. While there are many reasons to use genealogical testing, one of the main reasons reported is that most people enjoy learning about their personal history. With genealogical testing, a simple test can reveal a great deal of information about a person’s extended family and origins.

Having a Genealogical Test Performed

Having a genealogical test perform varies depending on the testing center, but typically a person receives a kit in the name with a short form and a cheek swab kit. After completing the form and cheek swab, the results are mailed back to the lab where the DNA is tested. The results are then returned back to the individual along with an explanation of test results. This type of DNA testing is very simple to perform and many people take advantage of genealogical testing.