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Interesting Facts About DNA

Your Ancestry DNA Test Results Do not Determine Your Identity

Why did you get a genetic DNA test? Or if you are planning to get one soon, why are you doing it?

Like most people, you probably just want to find out more about your family and roots and perhaps find a few unknown cousins.

It’s most likely not a grand quest to find your identity and redefine your entire life based on your ancestry DNA results.

But you wouldn’t think so if you listen to most ancestry DNA testing companies?

Their slick marketing videos and online brochures promise a journey much bigger than discovering your fourth cousins or finding … Read the rest >>

Understanding degrees of cousins in your DNA Matches on Ancestry

Understanding Degrees of Cousin-ness: 1st Cousin, 2nd Cousin and Beyond

The majority of DNA matches on Ancestry, 23andMe or FTDNA will be your cousins.

Now and then you might stumble on a half sibling or parent but cousins will make up most of the matches on your list.

They are – obviously – not at the same level of relatedness. Some are closer than others.

The closest are first cousins. The furtherst are fourth or fifth cousins depending on how far back the DNA testing company goes.

What do all these levels/grades mean? And what about terms like first cousin once removed?

This quick explainer has all the answers.


Read the rest >>
Paternal and Maternal lineages ftdna Autosomal DNA test

How to Tell if a DNA Match is Maternal or Paternal (for Autosomal DNA Tests)

A Y-DNA test is great for researching your paternal lineage and finding matches on your father’s side of the family.

An mtDNA test is great for researching your maternal lineage and finding matches on your mother’s side of the family.

An autosomal DNA test is great for researching your ancestry and finding family matches. Unfortunately, unlike the other two tests, it cannot tell which side of your family those matches are from.

The results of a 23andMe, AncestryDNA or FTDNA autosomal DNA test will simply show a list of matches without specifying whether they are maternal or paternal.

This is … Read the rest >>

Family Tree DNA Y-DNA tests

FTDNA Y-37 vs. Y-67 vs. Y-111 vs. Y-500 Tests: Differences Plus Tips for Choosing the Best One

Wondering which Family Tree DNA Y-DNA test to order?

In this quick post, we’ll tell you the differences between the four Family Tree DNA tests and help you choose the right one for you needs.

Quick summary: the 37-marker test is a great starting place. The 67 and 111-marker tests provide more reliable and refined results about your relatedness to a certain match. The Y-500 is for expert genealogists.

When you want to research your father’s family line, a Y-DNA test is the place to start.

Because Y-DNA passes almost unchanged from father to son, you can trace your paternal … Read the rest >>

23AndMe DNA ancestry regions

How to Read Your DNA Ancestry Composition (Admixture) Report

Once you receive your DNA ancestry results whether it’s from 23andMe, FTDNA or AncestryDNA, one of the most interesting parts of the report is the breakdown of DNA ancestry regions.

You’ll see a colorful labelled chart with percentages showing how your DNA splits into various regions. There’ll also likely be a map with color-coded areas to indicate where your DNA originates from.

This part of the report is called admixture or ancestry composition.

Admixture refers to the genetic combination of previously separate populations which occurs when they interbreed.

Almost everyone today has DNA that is derived from the admixture … Read the rest >>

Best best dna test y-dna vs. mtDNA vs. autosomal DNA

What’s The Difference? Y-DNA vs. mtDNA vs. Autosomal DNA Explained (+ Tips for Choosing the Right One)

One of the most important things to check when looking for a good DNA ancestry testing service is the type of DNA they actually test.  It makes a huge difference in the type and accuracy of information you can learn from the test.

There are 3 basic types of DNA tested by ancestry DNA tests today:

  1. paternal DNA (Y-DNA)
  2. maternal DNA (mtDNA) and,
  3. autosomal DNA (atDNA)

The right DNA test for you depends on the kind of information you want to glean from your test.

Let’s look at each type of test in a more detail – and the … Read the rest >>

Online genetic testing takes 6-8 weeks

Why Does Health and Ancestry DNA Testing Take So Long?

After you mail back your sample, it takes quite some time before you get an email telling you the results are ready.

FTDNA, 23andMe, AncestryDNA and other online genetic testing services all provide an estimate turnaround time of 6-8 weeks.

They are also careful to note that this is just an estimate. Your results could take even longer if the volume of tests goes up or your sample needs to be re-tested.

For certain more complex tests, the turnaround time is usually longer.

For instance, FTDNA’s 500-marker Big Y ancestry test currently has a turnaround time of 10-12 weeks. That’s … Read the rest >>

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 >>