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  DNA Clipart DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid)

     DNA is a way to enhance your genealogy research when combined with traditional genealogical research. DNA tests are available for you to purchase with the purpose of finding matches to known relatives, unknown relatives and possibly an adoptive parent/relative.  Some tests also include health information to determine medical risk.

    “Genetic Genealogy is the application of DNA evidence to genealogical research.” (Genetic Genealogy in Practice by Bettinger and Wayne, pub. National Genealogical Society, 2016) DNA by itself may not produce your desired results. For best results, your family research should include traditional genealogical research as well as DNA testing.
    For the genealogist, DNA is the hereditary material (22 chromosomes that are paired plus the two sex chromosomes) that makes each of us unique. The paired chromosomes determine hair color, ethnicity, and many other traits. The 23rd chromosome (XY for male and XX for female) determines gender.
    There are three DNA tests. Each test has different parameters.
* Y-DNA traces the father’s line - son to father to grandfather, etc. Only men can take this test. Only men in the direct line (ancestral line) will be in the results.  Y-DNA has a very slow mutation rate. This line can go back more than 200,000 years.
* Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) traces the mother’s line – child to mother to grandmother, etc. Both women and men can take this test. The results will be  only one ancestral line – this time the mother’s line. Because mtDNA also mutates very slowly, this line can go back more than 200,000 years,
* Autosomal DNA (atDNA) traces all your ancestors including parents, siblings, cousins, etc. It also gives you your “ethnic” makeup. Be aware your ethnic results are approximations. This test goes back only about 300 years. Both men and women can take this test

    If/when you decide to take a DNA test, you need to consider that you may get results you don’t expect. They are called non-parental events (NPE) and Misattributed Parentage Events (MPE). These occur when someone you think is a parent (grandparent, cousin) doesn’t have the DNA you expect them to have. A sister might be your half-sister, not full sister, because you don’t have the same father. You may find an unexpected relative. At least two members of our society have had this happen in their family.

    Below are links to books, instructional videos and blogs that can be used for information about DNA research, and testing companies. Please contact the society if you have any questions.


DNA Books at the Demmer       DNA Online       DNA Testing Companies        Genetic Genealogy Wiki Glossary
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