If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and wondered where you got your signature looks or personality, which seem so evidently different than the members of your immediate family, it is possible that you could have inherited these traits from an ancestor somewhere down your family line. Or maybe you’re just fascinated with knowing your entire family history as a way to know your full identity or to carry on the family legacy. Genetic ancestry testing, also known as genetic genealogy, can use your DNA to help you learn everything about your family’s history,
including the region where your ancestors came from, their physical traits, and in some cases, even their health history, so there’s no question as to who you are and where you’ve inherited certain traits, and more. Genetic ancestry testing is fairly simple, and the results can be ready in as little as four weeks
How Does DNA Reveal Heritage?
DNA is the hereditary material found in the cells of people as well as all other organisms. Most DNA is stored in the nucleus of the cell; however, trace amounts of DNA is also contained in the mitochondria, also called mitochondrial DNA. An important process of DNA is that it can duplicate itself, meaning almost every cell in an individual contains identical DNA. In fact, each DNA thread functions as a design for replicating the order of the four chemical bases found in DNA which are responsible for providing the information needed to develop and maintain an organism.Hence, when each cell splits, it enables the new cell to create an identical copy of the DNA found in the old cell.
DNA can be obtained from the saliva or blood for the purpose of a dna test heritage. In fact, the process is fairly straightforward. Once the blood or saliva is obtained from an individual, it is sent to a lab where they will assess the number, arrangement, and characteristics of a person’s genomes to determine their unique genetic code, which can then be used to determine the person’s family history and more. There are many ways to perform genetic ancestry testing; however, the four most commonly used tests include:
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) DNA Testing
An individual’s genome, which is the entire class of genes found in a cell or organism, includes many forms of single nucleotide polymorphisms, also called SNPs, which can be assessed to determine an estimation of an individual’s cultural background. Single nucleotide polymorphisms exist throughout a person’s DNA, and each SNP constitutes a variance in a single DNA building block, called a nucleotide. Generally, every 300 nucleotides contain single nucleotide polymorphisms, which equates to about 10 million SNPs in the human genetic material.
These differences also exist in DNA passed through genes. Ultimately, SNPs act as biological indicators, which can help genealogists determine an individual’s ancestral background.They can also be used to track the inheritance of disease genes in families. During single nucleotide polymorphisms testing, the outcomes are contrasted with other people who have previously taken the test to arrive at an estimate of a person’s cultural background. For instance, SNP variations might hint that a person’s ancestry is approximately 50% one race, 25% another race, and another 25% of your cultural background may be another race. This test is most often utilized in place of another testing, such as mitochondrial testing and Y chromosome DNA testing because it reveals the overall cultural background of a person.
Mitochondrial DNA Testing
Genealogists use mitochondrial DNA testing to pinpoint genetic discrepancies in mitochondrial DNA, which is the genetic matter that is contained in mitochondria anatomies located within cells. In people, mitochondrial DNA spreads more than 16,000 DNA building blocks, which accounts for a trace amount of the total DNA in cells. It also contains over 30 genes, which genealogists can use to reveal information concerning the direct line-ancestry on the female side. In fact, this type of testing is especially useful in genealogy because it unearths information about female ancestors that may have become engulfed overtime as a result of the passing down of married names and family names. Females and males both have mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from their moms; therefore, this type of testing can be used for everybody.
Y Chromosome DNA Testing
Because females do not have a Y chromosome, Y chromosome testing is only performed on males. The Y chromosome is one of the pair of sex chromosomes found in individuals. Every individual usually has two sex chromosomes in every cell. Females have a pair of X chromosomes, while males have one X and one Y chromosome. The Y chromosome spreads more than 50 million building blocks of DNA and accounts for a small percentage of the complete DNA in cells.
Variations in the Y chromosome are inherited only from father to son, which means Y chromosomes can be used to research the direct-line ancestry of the male side. However, women can also research the direct-line ancestry of their male side, provided they have a male relative take the test. Y chromosome testing is typically performed to research whether two families with the same last name are related.
Autosomal DNA Testing
Autosomal DNA testing is performed on the DNA that is passed down on your chromosome number, also known as your autosomal DNA. Half of these chromosomes are received from your mother, while the other half is received from your father. This type of DNA testing is extremely useful for ancestry genetic testing.
What are the Benefits of DNA Test for Heritage?
The benefits of DNA test heritage run far and wide, including:
It Can Help You Find Your Living Relatives
If you know that you have living relatives out there somewhere and would love to unite with them, but you don’t know how to locate them, genetic geology can be a good start. In fact, by testing your non-sex chromosomes and then comparing them with a general collection of other DNA samples comprised in the data-bank, you can find a host of living relatives located both near and far from you. Through DNA testing, many people have been fortunate enough to find long-lost parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and more, they never knew prior to testing.
It Can Help Your Relatives Find You
When you perform a DNA test, your results are stored in a gene data-bank so that when others also perform a DNA test, your DNA samples are contrasted against their DNA samples to discover if there is a match. In fact, DNA testing not only shows matches that you and other testers have in common, but it also reveals matches that you do not share, which can be used to learn more about your DNA matches. Some tests also reveal the degree of similarity with other gathered samples,
which can also be used to determine the degree of relation to your matches. Furthermore, since your DNA results are stored in the data-bank, each time a person conducts DNA testing, and you appear as a match, it can result in you still finding new family members even years after you’ve taken the test.
It Can Help You Discover What Region Your Ancestors are From
Have your parents always shared how their parents or grandparents were immigrants from another land? Or, maybe you’re just curious about which region your ancestors migrated from. Ancestry DNA can provide you with a general idea of what region your ancestors originated from because some traits are specific to various locations of the globe. Furthermore, when you participate in genetic geology, your DNA is contrasted against other DNA samples from all parts of the world, which can also give you an idea of where your family migrated from, and it can go back as far as several hundred years ago. DNA testing may also be used to help you determine when and where they started migrating as well as other migration patterns.
It Can Help You Construct an Accurate Family Tree
Whether your family has already constructed a family tree or you are considering developing one, DNA testing can make your family tree more sound. After receiving DNA testing, once the results are determined, they will be presented to you, after which time you can use the results to contrast them against your previously constructed family tree to see how accurate the recordings are. Or, if you have not yet constructed a family tree, you can use the test results to construct your family history, which will help make it easier, faster, and more accurate. Some individuals also use the results to see if they are related to someone famous or to help solve the age-old family secret about who their biological great-grandfather was, and more.
It Can Help You Make More Informed Decisions About Your Health
If you are unaware of what diseases, illnesses, or other disorders that may run in your family and would like to become more informed about them in order to protect your health, DNA testing can also be used to discover the overall health of your ancestors. In fact, some testing can even reveal information about your ancestors’ physical traits, such as if they thick hair or dimples, as well as the likelihood of you inheriting these traits. They can also reveal plenty about their health, such as if they were athletic, in addition to what gene mutations they carry.
It can also determine the genetic risks for certain diseases, including an increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer, Parkinson’s disease, celiac disease, and more. DNA test results, whether they are negative or positive for an increased risk of certain diseases or gene mutations, can help provide a clear understanding that can be used to make better decisions concerning your health. For instance, a positive result can be used to research monitoring, prevention, and treatment options. On the other hand, a negative result can prevent people from receiving unwarranted checkups and screenings in some instances.
It Can be Used for Future Family Planning
Generally, it is a parent’s dream to give birth to a healthy, happy baby. Therefore, if you are aware of certain genetic disorders that exist in your lineage and would like to know the risk of them being passed onto your unborn child, DNA testing can help. On the other hand, if you are unaware of the genetic disorders that may exist in your line of descent that can be passed onto your unborn offspring and affect your chances of having a healthy child, DNA testing can also help.
DNA testing can also be used for newborn screening to help discover genetic disorders early, so treatment can be implemented as soon as possible.
It Can Lead to a New Hobby and New Friends
With DNA testing, you can be as into it as you’d like, which can lead to an exciting new hobby. Not to mention, conducting large-scale research based on your DNA results can lead you across the globe in search of family, information, and documents, which can be fun, especially if you like to travel. While on your journey, you’re also bound to meet various interesting people and family along the way, which can also lead to great new friends in your life. Ultimately, DNA testing provides various ways to become more enlightened about your entire family as well as yourself. The results can also provide a fun way to gather with your family and construct a family tree, not to mention, give you something interesting to talk about during family gatherings. There are many forms of DNA testing, each with its own purpose.
For more information concerning DNA testing and how to select the best form of testing for your needs, contact a professional genealogist who can help. Home DNA test kits are also available, so be sure to inquire about this option for testing as well.