Looking into your genetic genealogy – a.k.a., your ancestry DNA – is an empowering method for exploring who you are, where you come from, and what sort of dispositions you might be prone to throughout your lifetime.
If you’ve gone down the ancestry DNA route, you’re probably familiar with platforms like AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or MyHeritage – but if you’re ready to take it a step beyond ancestry DNA, it’s time for you to look into Genomelink. Raw ancestry DNA analysis is a great start to gather insights into your genetic makeup and family history. Once you upload and access your ancestry DNA analysis from one of the aforementioned companies, you are provided with additional pieces of the genetic puzzle, like: extensive health history, unique traits, family finder tools, ancient ancestry, and more.
DNA: What our unique code tells us about ourselves
Researching your ancestry DNA is becoming increasingly popular. Whether you received a test as a Christmas gift, sought one out on your own, or just happened to come across a company that conducts them, people throughout the world are looking into their genealogy – but what exactly does that entail? Each person’s DNA consists of a unique string of four different letters: A (adenine), C (cytosine), G (guanine), and T (thymine). It sounds simple, but the code is about 3 billion letters long, and in that total exists many, many variances when it comes to human makeup. Within that extensive code lies the key to who we are. DNA explains why you look the way you look, what sort of diseases or illnesses you may be prone to, how you learn new concepts or problem-solve, and how all of this information applied to your ancestors. People with piqued interest turn to ancestry DNA analysis to tap into these details and explore their specific origins as humans.
What is an ancestry DNA analysis?
An ancestry DNA analysis will reveal these details about you through a variety of tests. There are a few different options available depending on what sort of information you’re looking for, but these three are the most commonly used:
- Y chromosome testing
The Y chromosome – a.k.a., the male bloodline in your DNA – is often used to explore ancestry. This type of test poses a few drawbacks, though: the main one being that it only works for those with a Y chromosome in their genetic makeup. However, even if you’re without a Y chromosome, you can consult someone in your family with one to conduct the test on your behalf. This leaves a bit more room for error, but if done correctly, this type of test can determine ethnic history, paternal ancestors in common, or whether or not two family members with the same surname are related.
- Mitochondrial DNA testing
This approach to ancestry DNA research determines genetic variations that come from mitochondrial DNA: a.k.a., the circular chromosome found inside the body’s mitochondria. No matter your gender, you have mitochondrial DNA, so this type of DNA analysis is less restrictive than the Y chromosome approach. However, the mitochondrial DNA itself is passed on through egg cells, which means these test results will only bear information on a person’s direct female ancestral line. This type of test will reveal common maternal ancestors among people, narrow down potential familial matches for those on the hunt, and provide ancient maternal ancestral insights. If you’re focused on researching your maternal family line, this is the test you’ll want to turn to.
- Single nucleotide polymorphism testing
Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) tests evaluate large amounts of a person’s individual genomic variations. The results are then weighed against similar SNPs within the wider database, which helps a person hone in on their ethnic background. For example: if you’ve tried 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or My Heritage, chances are you’ve seen a percentage breakdown of your ethnic makeup, like “70 percent African, 10 percent European, 10 percent Asian, and 10 percent unknown.” That information is drawn from an SNP, which captures your entire ancestral background instead of the details of one direct line. Within these types of tests lies more room for error – especially when the results are being weighed against a mass database of similar results. Feedback is more likely to be “unknown,” or worse: unwittingly inaccurate. However, if you’re looking for a more overarching view of your ancestry, this might be the move for you.