DNA and Genetic Genealogy

 

Every human on Earth is descended from a few related individuals who left Africa some 60,000 years ago.

  DNA is a useful adjunct to traditional "paper" genealogy, especially where the paper trail runs out.

  A DNA test can help:
  • break down brick walls
  • find related individuals
  • link you to others of same or similar surnames
  • suggest a geographical origin
  • indicate deeper ethnic ancestry
  • The four major types of DNA tests conducted in genealogical research are:

    • Y-STR  - Short Tandem Repeats in the DNA between genes on the Y-chromosome (males only) which give the tsted individual a haplotype which can be matched to others who have been tested (we recommend at least a 37 or 48 marker test) and is most useful in recent ancestry resaerch within genealogical time - say, 1,000 years.

    • Y-SNP - Single Nucleotide Polymorphism, a change in a single nucleotide in the DNA, which occurs infrequently, but can typically define a whole chromosome and become its signature, can assign an individual to a haplogroup and indicate deeper ancestral ethnic background and migration in the time-frame 6000 BCE – 1500 CE

    • mtDNA - for males and females, but it tracks the matrilineal ancestry (mother, mother's mother etc.) back through time

    • Autosomal DNA Testing (Family Finder and Relative Finder) for close ancestry testing - this traces all ancestral lines to identify relationships for five generations, back to 16 great-great-grandparents

      DNA tests can also help indicate inherited deseases and other conditions.

      The best testing company is FamilyTreeDNA (www.familytreedna.com) and can we can help you understand the results and match you to others tested.

    Dr Bruce Durie and Alasdair Macdonald MSc co-manage the Scottish DNA Project - www.scottishdna.net