Genetic Ancestry Testing: An Overview

The world of opportunities opened to us with the discovery of genetics is truly wondrous.
The near-perfection to which science had developed, allowed us to reveal and map with amazing clarity such things as the geographic origins of our families, our individual progenitors, our lineage, and ethnicity.

Whereas documentation gets lost, destroyed or damaged, and oral history is unreliable at best, the genetic code we all carry is there to provide reliable evidence and information that is otherwise hard or impossible to recover.

How Does Genetic Testing Work?

In the nutshell, there are certain types of genes and gene markers unique to individuals belonging to specific backgrounds. A very common example of this is when an individual has a very distinct appearance that marks him or her as a member of a very specific ethnic group.

But it’s not always simple, especially in our day and age where you meet more and more people with mixed heritage, especially those who were raised in foster homes and don’t have knowledge even of their immediate family.

There are three types of DNA testing for that, over which we will be going in a moment. They are the Y Chromosome Testing, Mitochondrial DNA Testing, and Autosomal DNA Testing (also known as STR).

Y Chromosome Testing is based on gene variations passed from male parent to male child only. It will reveal ancestry down the immediate male line. Women who are curious about their immediate male ancestry do sometimes submit DNA from a related man (a brother, for example) to get what can be called an approximation of the same test for them. Another use of the Y Chromosome DNA testing is to determine if two families sharing a Family Name are actually related.

Mitochondrial Testing focuses on the genetic code passed by the female parent to the child (regardless of the child’s gender). This means Mitochondrial DNA testing can be used by people of both genders, with the limitation of showing only maternal genetic variations, similarly to the Y testing which only gave information about the paternal genetic line.

Autosomal DNA is the main bulk of genetic code each of us carries and is composed of half maternal and half paternal DNA. It is by far the most accurate genetic fingerprint any person carries, and can be used extensively for different types of DNA testing procedures, from forensics, to paternity tests, to ancestral DNA testing and more. Representing both sides of a person’s lineage, Autosomal DNA testing is infinitely reliable and is therefore the main base for most DNA Ancestry tests.

And that’s exactly what we at Beyond DNA specialize in. If you wish us to help you recover your lost ancestry by analyzing the results of your genetic testing, we are here for you. Call us now and you will get all your questions answered!