It’s 2018 and we are learning more than ever from our DNA. We are learning about our medical background, genetic traits, heritage and finding distant relatives. Here’s a summary of what we know about DNA testing for genealogy so far.
What Can DNA Test Results Reveal?
Your DNA test results will include a great deal of important information about yourself
- Genetic ethnicity. Where did your ancestors come from? You will be provided with estimates of your ethnicity and heritage.
- Health and medical conditions. While the DNA tests for medical purposes are not meant to diagnose or replace the expertise of a doctor or professional healthcare provider, they can provide some insight into genetic traits and issues that may occur later in life or be handed down to your children.
- Living relatives. Your results are compared to others who are in the database, thus linking you to others that have similar genetic markings in their results.
DNA results can be a wonderful starting point for your family history research and it can aid you in your search for deeper connections within your own family tree as you trace the roots and branches of your family tree out farther and farther.
What Makes DNA Testing Services Possible?
DNA tests use state of the art microarray-based autosomal DNA testing. This is a specialized version of testing that surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations. The best part is that this is all achieved with a single simple saliva sample that is mailed to a testing center.
Can DNA Tests be Used by Both Genders?
Yes, everyone is able to take DNA genetic tests because every human being carries the DNA markers that are being tested.
Each DNA testing company that offers DNA genetic testing can be used by both male and females to determine heritage, relative connections and medical/health traits.
However, FamilyTree DNA does offer two specific tests designed for either the male (paternal) or female (maternal) side.
- The Y-DNA test for discovering the heritage of your father’s (paternal) side of the family.
NOTE: This is male-specific as only the males carry and pass on the Y chromosome.
- The mtDNA test is for discovering the heritage of your mother’s (maternal) side of the family. Either gender can take this test as everyone carries their mother’s Mitochondrial DNA.
Can a Pregnant Woman Take a DNA Test or Should She Wait?
According to this article from AGS Health, women who are pregnant can take a genetic DNA test such as ancestry.com, 23andMe, etc. and still receive accurate results. Since the test collects a saliva sample (non-invasive method), there is no harm to the unborn baby and the mother’s DNA results will not be returned inconclusive due to being pregnant.
Whether you are just getting started or have been working on your family tree for a while, getting a DNA test can help unlock doors and open your family tree up to amazing new relatives. Looking for that boost to get to the next level of your genealogy search? DNA may be what you have been looking for!
For more information and to learn more about DNA testing and their impact on genealogy research, check out some of our other DNA blogs.