Category Archives for Blog

23andme Neanderthal DNA report will tell you if you have ancient DNA

What the Heck is Neanderthal DNA and What Does it Mean If You Have Some?

Feature image credit: Erich Ferdinand, Flickr.

Here’s a brief accounting of how modern humans came to bear ancient DNA from the Neanderthals.

We split from chimpanzees 5-7 million years ago.

Then around 2-2.5 million years ago, the first hominins (our earliest ancestors), started appearing in current East Africa.

Homo habilis and Homo erectus were among the first human species intelligent enough to develop tools. The latter was the first to learn how to use fire.

About 1.75 million years ago, Homo erectus started migrating out of Africa to Eurasia seeking more food and favorable climate. Some of the … Read the rest >>

It’s hard to say that this or that is the most accurate DNA test

Is Genetic DNA Testing Always Accurate? (Short Answer: No)

It’s not always that genetic DNA testing gives you all the answers you were seeking. More often than not it leaves you with even more questions than before and results that sometimes seem impossible.

It doesn’t matter which DNA testing service you use. It’s hard to say that this or that is the most accurate DNA test. They all operate within the limits of an imperfect science that is based on estimates.

Your genetic testing results are highly researched estimates based on rigorous testing and decades of research. But they are estimates nonetheless.

So, no, genetic DNA testing is not … Read the rest >>

Ancestry DNA test

A Glossary For the Most Common Terms Used in Genetic Testing

Taking an online genetic DNA test as a beginner can be both exciting and frustrating at the same time.

Exciting because you get to learn something new about yourself and your heritage. Frustrating because understanding the results is not always easy.

Unless you are a seasoned genetic testing expert or hobbyist, you’ll probably not understand all the technical terms used in the report. This will keep you from getting the most out of it.

So I’ve put together this quick primer to help you understand the most commonly used words and terms in ancestry DNA testing.

You’ll come across them … Read the rest >>

Home DNA tests that promise to recommend a diet based on your DNA

Seriously, Don’t Waste Your Money on Those Diet DNA Tests

Should I try a Paleo, Mediterranean or ketogenic diet? There is a history of heart disease in my family; should I worry about my salt intake? Why can’t I lose weight?

We all have pressing questions on our health and fitness that we’d give anything to have answered.

But we usually have to settle for vague estimations and sometimes no clear answers at all even from doctors.

Now, several new startups say they can answer these questions by analyzing your DNA.

The premise is simple. Pay for home DNA tests and we will study you gene variants to learn how … Read the rest >>

the 23andMe health test now tells you why you hate hearing certain normal sounds

Hate it When You Hear People Chew? 23andMe Can Help You Understand Why

The 23andMe health test report is packed full of helpful information about your genetic health risks. It also includes a wellness report that tells you how your genes influence your health.

But one of the most interesting parts of the test report is the traits analysis that predicts which traits you might develop or why you have certain traits.

The report can predict traits such as hair color, early hair loss for men, dimples and eye color.

Recently 23andMe added four new traits to their traits analysis for a total of 15.

Here are the four new traits.

Certain Sounds

Read the rest >>
Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage provide their customers with chromosome browsers

What is a Chromosome Browser and What is It Used For in DNA Testing?

If you’ve been dabbling in genetic DNA tests, perhaps researched a bit about it or even taken a test yourself, you’ve probably heard of a chromosome browser.

What is it and is it important in DNA testing?

To answer the second part of the question, yes it is very important in DNA testing.

Specifically, it comes in handy during DNA match analysis. That is when you are trying to figure out how exactly your DNA matches are related to you and which ancestors you share.

To answer the first part of the question, a chromosome browser is a tool that … Read the rest >>

Dog DNA tests reveal dogs to be much closer to wolves than originally thought

How Much Of Your Dog’s DNA is Wolf? (Hint: Almost All of It)

Your dog is 99.9% wolf.

That might be hard to believe considering the gentle mannerisms and cute looks of some breeds. But most of the dog breeds you see today are as a result of artificial selection by humans.

The first German Shepherd for instance, dates back to one dog that lived just over 100 years ago in Germany.

But all dogs share a genetic history that goes back tens of thousands of years; all the way back to a now-extinct wolf species from which researchers theorize all dogs descended from.

Today, despite having tens of thousands of years to … Read the rest >>

How to Use DNA Testing services like AncestryDNA to find your birth family

A DNA Testing Guide for Adoptees: Tips & Resources to Find Your Birth Family

DNA testing through services like AncestryDNA and FTDNA is incredibly helpful for adoptees trying to track down their biological parents.

Years ago the best way for adoptees to find their biological family members was using adoption and family records which can be hard to access and don’t always help.

Reunion registries like, and the International Soundex Reunion Registry are helpful but they depend a lot on luck. Both parties must be actively seeking each other for the best chances of success.

The rise of consumer DNA testing has provided another much more effective tool for adoptees to track … Read the rest >>

Contacting your matches after a DNA ancestry test

How to Reach Out to DNA Matches (Without Being Annoying)

Taking a DNA ancestry test is the easy part. There are plenty of excellent options to choose from and the process is fairly quick.

Then comes the hardest part; trying to connect the dots.

The results can only tell you so much. You’ll have to contact the matches to be sure you are connected and get more details that might prove helpful in your own search.

Many DNA testing services offer ways to contact your matches. Most use an internal messaging system but others like Family Tree DNA allow you to contact matches directly via email.

However, getting a response … Read the rest >>

Using family records (in addition to an FTDNA or test) to research your family history

5 Ways to Research Your Family History (In Addition to getting a DNA Test)

Researching your family is like solving a large complex puzzle. An FTDNA, 23andMe or test may fill a lot of missing pieces but it won’t tell you the whole story.

If you are serious about researching your family history, you’ll have to do more than just get a DNA test. You’ll need to expand your search and find more sources to fill in the missing gaps.

Here are five ways you can do that.

1. Talk to Your Family Members

Family stories can be surprisingly informative. The trick is to know how to draw them out.

Start with your … Read the rest >>