Many people are interested in their family history for one reason or another. This interest may be for important reasons, or it could just be sheer curiosity. Sometimes, it could be to find out something more or it could be because they are writing a book. Genetic genealogy, also known as genetic ancestry testing is a way to find out some powerful information or confirm information that may have been passed down a couple of generations. It is possible to gather clues to see where someone’s ancestors may be from. Let’s take a closer look at the interesting world of genetic ancestry testing, including the three most commonly used for genealogy.

1. Y Chromosome Testing

The Y chromosome is passed from the father to the son. This testing is used for exploring the direct male line. This testing is only done on males since females do not have the Y chromosome. However, a woman who is interested in exploring this type of DNA genetic testing can ask a male relative to take the test. This type of testing can find out if two families that share the same surname are in fact related. This can be done because of the pattern in which the Y chromosome is passed.

2. Mitochondrial DNA Testing

Any genetic variations in mitochondrial DNA can be identified by using mitochondrial DNA testing. Most DNA is found in the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell. However, there are cell structures known as mitochondria which have their own DNA, albeit a small amount and this is known as mitochondrial DNA. This kind of testing can be taken by both males and females, unlike Y chromosome testing. This is because both sexes have mitochondrial DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA is passed on from the mothers. That means it can give information on the direct female line. This is an important test because it preserves information on female ancestors, otherwise, this information can be lost from records as a result of surnames being passed down.

3. Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Testing

Single nucleotide polymorphism are sometimes called ‘snips’ or SNPs. This test assesses large variations of a person’s entire genome. When the results are in, it can be compared with others who have also taken the test and give an estimate of the ethnic background of a person. This type of test is favoured over the other two (mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome tests) because those are only for single lines and don’t get the complete ethnic background. SNPs, on the other hand, can suggest that a person is 50 per cent European, 25 percent Asian and 25 per cent that is unknown.

4. Cost

The cost of doing genetic testing varies greatly, so it all depends. It can be less than $100 or it can run into four figures. It all depends on the nature and complexity, so if it involves more than one test or if it involves the whole family to get any meaningful results, it will be more expensive.

The results of tests can also take a while and can take weeks to months. Some tests that have a time restriction will have quicker results. Whatever results you find though, it will be incredibly interesting and perhaps life-changing as well.

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