How does a DNA lineage test work?

Genetic lineage testing is possible due to the fact that certain areas of our DNA are transmitted from one generation to the next in a relatively unchanged manner for many generations. To obtain the paternal lineage DNA test the genetic material in the Y chromosome is analyzed as this is inherited directly from father to son, whereas the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is examined in the maternal lineage test as this is passed on directly from the mother to all her children.

Scientific research has dated the history of human evolution as starting in Africa around 400,000 to 130,000 years ago, from there on human beings started evolving and migrating outwards to different countries. During this migration process, slight differences in the genetic material contained in the Y chromosome and the mitochondrial DNA evolved as different groups of people settled in different parts of the world. These have been transmitted to present generations, enabling each and every one of us to trace the origins of our DNA through our genetic history.

What will the lineage test tell me?

The test will tell you which haplogroup you belong to on your maternal and/or paternal side. A haplogroup is a population of people who share common markers in their DNA, and it is usually associated with a geographical and historical point of origin.

Along with your haplogroup, we will provide a description of applicable populations around the world where the same haplogroup can be found, which can be considered your “genetic cousins.” We will also give you the specific DNA markers that allowed us to determine your haplogroup, should you choose to do further research with this data. There are publicly available databases and forums where you could discuss your results and possibly find your distant relatives!

Review the list of paternal haplogroups and maternal haplogroups.

How long does the test take?

The maternal and paternal lineage tests take 4-5 weeks from the receipt of the samples at the laboratory.

Will this test tell me what nationality I am?

This test can tell you where your ancestors are likely to have originated, however it cannot tell you in any definite sense what nationality you are, because race and nationality are also influenced by social and political factors independent of genetics. Your DNA test will indicate your genetic lineage, supported by historical studies of the various movements of large groups of people throughout the past.

What is a haplogroup?

A haplogroup is a population of people who share common markers in their DNA, and it is usually associated with a geographical and historical point of origin. People with the same haplogroups trace their roots to a common ancestor in whom the DNA markers first appeared.

Will the test give percentages of my ancestral background?

The maternal and paternal lineage tests give you specific information about your maternal and/or paternal line. Our Ancestral Origins™ DNA test, on the other hand, takes into account other contributions to your lineage, such as spouses along the maternal and paternal lines. Visit this page to learn more.

Do my mother and my father both have to be swabbed for the ancestry testing?

No, generally speaking your own DNA already contains the information required to carry out this test. In the case of males both maternal and paternal ancestry can be determined from your DNA sample. If you are female, your sample will only have ancestry information related to the maternal line, therefore your brother or your father will be required to contribute a sample if you want to know more about your paternal lineage. Please note that a full brother will also have the same mtDNA as you, so his sample can be used directly for a dual ancestry test on your behalf.

Will this tell me if I have Jewish ancestry?

Certain haplogroups are associated with Jewish ancestry. However, there are varying social and political definitions of what it means to be Jewish, and DNA alone does not determine Jewish ancestry.

Will this test tell me if I am related to a famous person?

Certain famous individuals in ancient and recent history have been DNA tested to determine their haplogroups. These include U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, the Wright brothers (aviation pioneers), and the Romanov family. Historical evidence pointing to Genghis Khan and St. Luke has suggested haplogroups for these iconic persons. If your haplogroup matches that of famous people who have been haplotyped, it will be mentioned on the description page that accompanies your certificate.

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