The genetic test of ancestors or origins is a DNA analysis that will allow you to know your family history, roots, and genealogy. With this DNA test, you can discover the origins of your ancestors, their ethnicity and the geographical areas in which they lived. You can also create your family tree and find your biological family or other living relatives you do not know.
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Types of ancestor tests
There are three types of genetic tests of ancestors, depending on the DNA they analyze:
- Autosomal or nuclear DNA: Analysis of the 22 pairs of chromosomes to know your ancestors
- Mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA: Study of maternal ancestry
- ADN-Y: Study of paternal origins
If you continue reading you can easily understand how to know who your ancestors are, as well as the main advantages and disadvantages of each type of genetic study. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave us a comment.
What is autosomal DNA?
Our autosomal DNA, also called nuclear DNA (because it is found in the nucleus of our cells), is made up of the first 22 pairs of chromosomes and comes from all our ancestors.
The DNA is transmitted autosomal our father and our mother (also called diploid). We inherit half of our DNA from each of our parents, a quarter of our DNA comes from each of our grandparents, one-eighth from each of our great-grandparents, and so on. Thanks to the fact that part of our genetic material comes from our ancestors, we can analyze it through DNA tests.
How does this ancestor test work?
The analysis of the origin of autosomal DNA is the most common genealogy test and that usually performed by almost all companies of genetic tests.
This DNA test examines the polymorphisms (do not be scared, now you will understand) of a single nucleotide or SNP (from English, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism ). In other words, the SNP would become very small changes in the bits of our DNA (these bits are called nucleotides).
SNPs are different in each person and are inherited in a very stable way, that is, they hardly change from one generation to another. Therefore, it is easy to determine kinship lines between people with the same SNPs.
What is mitochondrial DNA?
Mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA is the one found inside the mitochondria of our cells. Mitochondria are the “energy factories” of our cells and inside they hold the genetic information necessary for their functioning. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited exclusively from our mother (this is what is called haploid).
Because our mitochondrial DNA is not a combination of both parents but comes from only one line (the maternal one), this DNA does not change with each generation. In fact, mtDNA can remain almost identical for more than 50 generations!
Mitochondrial DNA is found in the same family group and all the individuals in that group have the same mitochondrial DNA. A group of people who share the same mitochondrial DNA is called haplogroup.
How does this test of origin work?
The mitochondrial DNA gene analysis examines the DNA of the mitochondria. Generally, the test analyzes specific mtDNA fragments (the already known nucleotides) and compares them with existing samples to determine if a link exists.
Mitochondrial DNA has approximately 16,500 nucleotides (bits of DNA), unlike the autosomal DNA that has about 3 billion. This means that the results provided by this test are very very accurate, but only for the maternal line. That is, it allows you to establish kinship with your mother, your mother’s mother, the mother of your mother’s mother, and so on for more than 50 generations
A tip to increase the chances of success
As we explained at the beginning, most of the companies that carry out genetic genealogy tests have computer platforms to facilitate the search for relatives.
Once the test is done, if you wish, you can register the results of your DNA test in the company database and activate the matching search. The software will constantly search for possible DNA matches with other people and will warn you every time that happens.
As more people share their results through the database, the greater the likelihood of finding family members. Also, keep in mind that each company has its own database. So, the greater the number of databases in which you register, the greater your chances of finding the ancestry you seek.