DNA Testing for Ancestry – Genetic Genealogy and DNA Testing for Ancestry
DNA testing for ancestry has seen incredible growth over the last few years, and is now used regularly to prove genetic connectivity. Although the tests have been widely available in previous years, the cost has now been lowered to the point that more people can afford DNA testing for ancestry. Major improvements in technology have also increased the accuracy of DNA testing, and combined with the ability to share information on the internet, a range of online communities have risen regarding the subject. Let’s take a look at what’s involved in this science, and the potential uses of DNA testing for ancestry.
Types of DNA Testing for Ancestry
There are several types of DNA testing for ancestry available on the market today. The most popular ones are those that test for the Y-chromosome which details the paternal lineage of a person. This form of DNA test can reveal who the father of a child is, linkage to a particular section of the population that shares the same Y-chromosome features, or the number of generations removed from a common ancestor that people are. Another type of DNA testing for ancestors involves the maternal line, and this is known as mitochondrial DNA testing. This allows similar comparisons as the paternal form, only regarding the maternal (mother’s) side of the family.
Further DNA testing for ancestry can be done to determine the ethnic origins of a person. This has been successfully used by many people of African-American ethnicity to trace their origins back to Africa. Probably the most well known of these was Alex Haley, the famed author of the novel “Roots.” These tests can also begin to map human population movements around the world by taking an ample number of samples from different populations across the globe.
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Companies that Offer DNA Testing for Ancestry
There are many companies, especially in the United Kingdom and The United States of America that provide these tests for individuals. Whether you want to prove a link between two living relatives, distant ancestors, a particular ethnic group, or a segment of the population containing similar Y-chromosome patterns, the many options are explained during the initial consultation. Prices for DNA testing for ancestry vary from company to company and within different countries. Some of the main companies offering DNA testing for ancestry are:
- Ethno Ancestry (UK)
- Oxford Ancestors (UK)
- Sorenson Genomics (US)
- Family Tree DNA
- Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd. (USA)
DNA testing for ancestry is quick and easy to do, and quite often does not require a person to give blood. A simple swab taken from inside the mouth is generally done, so those squeamish of needles need not worry! The swab is then sent to a laboratory for analysis, the results sent in strict confidence. It generally takes three to ten working days to get the results, and of course, what you decide to do with them is up to you.
How Accurate is DNA Testing for Ancestry?
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Paternal DNA testing for ancestry has been proven to be very accurate in determining parentage. It can completely reveal if a man isn’t the biological father of a child, and can identify if he is with an accuracy of 99% or more. One thing to keep in mind is that DNA isn’t some magical process that can identify anything regarding anyone. Testers must have another DNA sample to compare your own with, and even then there is room for error. It can be a useful genealogical tool however, and if tracing an ethnic line or that of ancestral lineage can show you for sure whether or not you’re on the right track.