There will be nothing new and earth shattering in this post! Simply trying to reduce my ignorance about DNA by researching DNA testing and results, along with reviewing my notes on DNA webinars I attended.
DNA is an abbreviation for Deoxyribonucleic acid.(1) You’ll probably never need to know that unless it comes up in a trivia game, or you want to impress someone!
We were all born with 46 chromosones, well, most of us anyhow. People with Down’s Syndrome were born with a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.
Our mother gave us our X chromosome, and our father contributed our X or Y chromosome. Our sex is also determined by our father: X = female. Y = male.
That’s the basics — most likely learned in your junior high science class. Pretty simple to follow.
My first exposure to DNA education occurred in 2013 when I attended a Legacy Family Tree webinar by Ugo Perego entitled “The New Frontier in Genetic Genealogy: Autosomal DNA Testing.” Since it was listed as an Intermediate/ Advanced Level webinar, a lot went over my head. I am reviewing my notes from his webinar to try and decide which test and/or company to choose for my DNA testing.
Ugo explained the major autosomal DNA tests available to genealogists, how they work and what to expect from them in order to reconstruct our genetic family history.(2) He emphasized that DNA testing is to support what we’ve discovered in our genealogical research, not to replace it.
Figure out who needs to be tested. If you want verification of your paternal side of the family, have a male get the Y-DNA test. It can help you find people in your direct line of your father’s side of the family. That’s Dad, grandfather, g-grandfather and so on.
If you’re more interested in your maternal side of the family, a female should take the mtDNA test. It can help you make connections with the direct line of your mother’s side of the family. Mom, grandma, g-grandma, etc.
He talked about the four DNA testing companies: 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, Ancestry, and Genograhic Project, and their differences. Two points I remember:
- 23andMe is a private company (with money) so tests are generally cheaper.
- Ancestry’s very new to DNA testing. There had only been 120,000 people who tested with them. [Bear in mind, this webinar was presented in May of 2013.] He also expressed his opinion that their testing was not as accurate as 23andMe or FTDNA.
At his company website, you can read more about these testing companies. If you’ve never heard of Dr. Ugo A. Perego, here’s his bio:
- CEO for the Salt Lake City-based Genetic Genealogy Consultant
- Scientist affiliated with the DNA laboratory of Professor Antonio Torroni at the University of Pavia in Italy
- Previously a senior researcher with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation
- Earned a PhD in Genetic and Biomolecular Sciences(3)
He knows what he’s talking about, I think! He has presented four different webinars at FamilyTreeWebinars. I will be reviewing notes from other webinars and posting more soon.
What about you? Have you had your DNA tested? Are you thinking about having it done?