Types of Genetic Tests Available, and Why They Matter

Ancestry genetic testing is performed regularly for paternity court cases and for helping people trace their ancestors over thousands of years. At one time, genetic testing was an expensive and complex procedure but today, it is actually quite easy.

To learn about your family tree, there are two primary types of genetic ancestry testing. In addition to ancestor genetic testing companies, there are companies that specialize in the professional analysis of test results. These same companies also uncover information about ancestors without performing a DNA test.

Types of Genetic Ancestry Testing

The type of ancestry genetic testing done depends on the information that you want. However, because deciphering the tests is difficult, you would benefit greatly from a company that offers a professional analysis. For people interested in their family tree, both options matter because they provide answers.

Autosomal DNA Testing

For this test, 22 pairs of chromosomes that have no contribution to gender are tested. These inherited chromosomes come equally from both parents and relatively equally from grandparents and great-grandparents. In this case, inheritance is generally random and unequal from ancestors that are more distant.

With autosomal DNA testing, the goal is to match chromosomes to other individuals. For instance, ancestry genetic testing companies will determine if two people share a specific DNA threshold and, if they do, it is a match. That means the two individuals are related at some level. The amount of inherited DNA determines if the match is between sisters, sixth cousins, or so on.

This particular form of genetic testing is complex and hard to understand. For that reason, you should use the services of a company that performs detailed analyses. As part of this, you will receive a report that shows a breakdown of region or ethnicity based on percentage.

Mitochondrial DNA Testing

This is the second type of ancestry genetic testing available. Mitochondrial DNA is a component of a human cell that has its own DNA. Compared to the human genome, mitochondrial DNA is extremely small, and it is passed down from a mother to a child. This makes direct maternal ancestry traceable. While a perfect match proves recent ancestry, it is possible to match more distant ancestors based on a common geographic origin.

At Beyond DNA, we specialize in the analysis of ancestry genetic testing. We also provide services to help uncover facts about your ancestors without DNA testing. Instead, we use information that you have obtained from various family members and other sources. To learn more about your family tree, please give us a call.