December 6

Learn About the Different Types of DNA Tests


Did you know that DNA has been used since the 1980s to solve murders? It can be used to solve mysteries, map your family tree, and even predict the future with genome mapping.

DNA is a fascinating part of our biology that tells us so much about who we are as human beings.

Whether you’re interested in DNA testing because you want to learn about your heritage or because you want to find out about your relatives, they can be extremely useful.

Keep reading to learn about different types of DNA tests out there and what they test for.

Autosomal DNA Testing

This type of DNA test will look specifically at the DNA that comes from your parents. These are the 22 sets of chromosomes that come together to make your autosomes. Specifically, autosomal DNA tests are going to look at segments of the DNA that you share with anyone you’re related to biologically.

People of all genders are able to take this type of DNA test. An autosomal DNA test won’t include information related to haplogroups.

This test will be useful if you want to find distant or recent relatives, and it will also tell you more about where your ancestors came from.

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Y-DNA Testing

A Y-DNA test will look at patrilineal ancestry, which is the lineage on the father’s side. However, this test can only be done by those that possess a Y chromosome, which is typically biological males.

The Y chromosome is passed from the biological father to the offspring. If you have a Y chromosome, it came from your father, who also got his Y chromosome from his father, and so on. This is why Y-DNA tests are great for tracing biological male lineage (or for paternity DNA testing).

Often used to prove relation to someone, a Y-DNA test is a wonderful tool for tracing back thousands of years in your ancestry line. The Y chromosome has few changes every time it is passed down, which is part of what makes this possible.

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mtDNA Testing

Also called mitochondrial DNA testing, this type of test will look at a person’s mother’s ancestral line. It specifically uses the DNA that is found in the mitochondria.

Mitochondria are part of what is passed to offspring through a mother’s egg, so fathers don’t share any mitochondrial DNA with their children. You can only trace your mother’s female line with mtDNA testing as a result.

Anyone can take an mtDNA test, or maternity test, regardless of their own gender. However, the mtDNA test will only trace back in your family tree through your female lineage (because males don’t pass on the mitochondria), so you may only get a small sliver of information.

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This DNA test is commonly used specifically to provide evidence as to whether someone is biologically related to you.

Understanding Types of DNA Tests

With these three types of DNA tests at your disposal, it’s time to start learning more about your history. You might find out more than you thought you would and discover parts of your identity that you never would have known otherwise.

Did you find this article helpful? If so, be sure to take a look at some of our other blog posts next.


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