Various Types of DNA Tests Available
to the Genetic Genealogy Consumer
SEX BASED TESTING
1. A Y-DNA Test is used to track the individual’s paternal line. This test is only performed on Y chromosome samples from males, as having a Y chromosome is what differentiates men from women. Test Results can then be compared with results from samples from other males to determine the likelihood of sharing a common ancestor over time.
2. A mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) Test is used to track the individual’s maternal line. This test may be performed on X chromosome samples from persons of either gender, since females have two X– Chromosomes and males have one. DNA from X chromosomes is passed from a mother to her children, both male and female. However, though possessing one X chromosome, males do not pass them on to their children.
BROAD BASED TESTING
1. An atDNA (Autosomal DNA) Test is performed on the autosomes, which are the 22 pairs of non-sex related chromosomes. This is primarily used to determine an individual’s biogeographical ancestry. Some of the DNA used for comparison purposes is often referred to as “Junk DNA”, because it was thought to be “extra”, or have no bio-logical purpose. We are starting to understand that this may be a misconception. Almost daily, scientists are finding the various biological characteristics or phenomena controlled by some of this “Junk DNA”.
Consumers can order various combinations of the tests mentioned above, either as simultaneously purchased groups of individual choices, or as specially marketed combination options. These are available through various DNA testing providers. Some Examples are: FamilyTreeDNA’s FamilyFinder Y-DNA and/or mtDNA combined with atDNA test, their Super DNA test (males only) and their Comprehensive Genome Test (Also males only). Numerous other testing combinations are available from other vendors.