How much of my ancestry will match with my brother?

How much of my ancestry will match with my brother?

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Recently, my brother (full sibling) got his ancestry checked from MyHeritageDNA. They have a similar service like 23 and me and I've found out that both companies are offering the basic service almost the same, with some add-ons which are different.

My question is that if I (I'm a male) send my DNA sample to either organization, how different should I expect the results to be?

As both you and your full sibling are males, it means that you share the exact same Y chromosome. You also share the same mtDNA as you have the same mother. All the rest is just a bit of segregation and recombination that will lead to minor differences but generally speaking, your ancestry data should be very similar. Specific disease related data might vary though.

How much of my ancestry will match with my brother? - Biology

My wife bought the DNA test for my birthday. Great gift, cheap, easy and fun. Everyone is doing it. Six weeks after sending in the spit, I got the results. Nicely presented — colorful graphs and charts — but they seemed a bit off and more vague than I had expected.

For instance, my grandfather was an immigrant from Greece. He came through Ellis Island in 1911. I figured that made me at least 25 percent Greek. Yet, Ancestry showed a range of 9 to 30 percent Italy/Greece, with a likelihood of 18 percent. Vague in itself — not to the mention the fact that mixing Italians with Greeks would have driven my grandfather to the nearest bottle of Metaxa.

Nevertheless, I thought little more of it until I mentioned the test to my sister Barbara. Unbeknownst to me, she'd had the test done, as well, and was awaiting the results. They came a week later. And those results were more than just a bit off.

Our Italy/Greek numbers were about the same. But her results showed 37 percent British Isles, whereas I was 53 percent. She also showed 10 percent Scandinavian and 7 percent East Europe — neither of which even appeared in my results. And we're about as Scandinavian-looking as Jennifer Lopez.

Let's chase the elephant out of the room. The odds that my happily married and saintly mother might have had a dalliance, with, say, a Norwegian sailor back in the 1950s are nil.

So, same parents, different DNA test results. What gives?

"It's very difficult to accurately find your ancestry under any circumstances," said Jonathan Marks, an anthropology professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "There has been genetic mixing for thousands of years. These tests are fun but rarely accurate — 10 percent Scandinavian could be no Scandinavian because the test could very easily be 10 or 15 percent off."

The imprecisions are not limited to Ancestry. My sister's son took a DNA test from 23andMe, another popular DNA testing company. His father is Italian and Irish, named Rettaliata. The test showed no Greek and just 1 percent Italian.

"The methodology they use in determining the DNA markers is solid," said Deborah Bolnick, an anthropology professor at the University of Texas. "The challenges come with interpreting those DNA sequences to say something accurate about your ancestry."

Those challenges sure aren't conveyed in the ubiquitous TV ads. Folksy testimonials from happy customers beam with wonder. "I found out I was 16 percent Italian," says one consumer. Well, maybe you are and maybe not. Experts say assigning a specific percentage is problematic.

"You are dealing with probabilities here, not certainties," said Sarah Tishkoff, professor of genetics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Our genes identify many characteristics about us — for instance, there is a gene that programs eye color. Genes contain DNA, the chemical basis of heredity. A genetic test is never going to be 100 percent accurate in determining ancestries tied to specific ethnic groups. Ethnicity is not a trait derived from a single gene or a combination of genes. If only it were that simple.

Determining your precise ethnicity under any circumstances is murky. Ancestry seems to try as hard as anyone to get it right.

About my sister and me having different results, Ancestry explained that it is not all that uncommon for siblings with the same parents to have different ethnic traits.

"Each parent gives 50 percent of their DNA to you, but the subset of DNA you get could be different from your sibling," says Eurie Hong, senior director of genomics, research and development at Ancestry.

Bolnick agrees that siblings could potentially inherit some different DNA sequences from a parent. But she is a bit skeptical that this could lead to significantly different assessments of the siblings' ancestry.

Still, let's assume my sister did receive a different DNA sequence, which accounted for some variance in the results. That just illustrates the fundamental problem with the tests: too many variables.

Most testing companies compare snippets of a person's DNA to that company's database of DNA markers from people living in various regions of the world. That would work flawlessly if our ancestors had stayed in one place, but they moved around. Once ships and roads were invented, it threw everything off kilter, genetically speaking.

Let's say you had a great-great-great-grandfather from Germany named Otto, who was a playful and libidinous sort. He spends a youthful summer in Italy, where he impregnates a local woman, maybe without even knowing it. He returns home, marries a German woman, and has one son, Hans, your great- great-grandfather. Hans eventually moves to the United States, marries an American woman of Irish descent. They have kids, generations pass, more kids. You are born and grow up confident of your German-Irish heritage.

But Otto's kid in Italy has been growing his family too, having kids and more kids. By the time you are born, Otto's DNA footprint in Italy could be as big as it is in Germany. So when you take the DNA test, your DNA also matches all these people from Italy. Voilà! Ancestry determines you are likely 20 percent Italian.

"If you really wanted to know where your ancestors lived, say 500 years ago, you'd have to compare your DNA to a database of the DNA of people who lived 500 years ago," said Bolnick.

And that's the bottom line: Today's inhabitants of an area might have a different genetic makeup from its ancestral inhabitants. Just because your DNA matches someone who currently lives in a particular region, that doesn't necessarily mean your ancestors came from that place.

It's a particularly knotty problem for African Americans. More than 11 million Africans were forcibly shipped to the Americas during the slave trade and there were no lists of passengers or records. DNA testing might be the only way many African Americans can discover their African heritage. But some experts say there has been too much mixing of west African groups to correctly identify a country, much less a tribe.

"I can tell African Americans where they are from without a DNA test — anywhere between Senegal and Angola," said Bert Ely, professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina. "These tests are fine at identifying continents but the more specific you get — in trying to identify countries and tribes — the greater the probability of inaccuracies."

But to many African Americans, the tests have real value, even if they can only give an estimate.

"If the test indicates that your DNA matches the Yoruba in Nigeria, that is some real information for some people, something to hold on to," said Charmaine D. Royal, associate professor of African and African American studies at Duke University.

Regardless, questions about accuracy haven't hurt sales. Ancestry has sold nearly 4 million DNA testing kits at $99 a pop. And sales show no sign of slowing down.

"Even if the numbers are often off, they're still fun to talk about at parties," said Marks.

DNA Inheritance Is Passed Down Randomly. So Randomly That I Am 24% More Irish Than My Brother.

I bet you thought that you were 100% related to your full biological siblings.

Siblings share, on average, about half their DNA. The reality is, however, we can actually be anywhere from 0 – 100% genetically related to our siblings! When looking at DNA test results, you could, theoretically, be totally unrelated to a sibling, though the percentage usually falls in the 50% range.

To confuse you more, your ethnicity results in an Autosomal DNA (atDNA) test can be quite different from sibling to sibling, as we each inherit unique combinations of DNA from our parents that present different parts of our genetic history.

DNA recombination from parents to their children. Photo credit-

This stems from how DNA is passed from one generation to the next for the majority of our genome. You are unique, having received 50% your DNA from each of your parents. Your parents received 50% from each of their parents, and so on. The 50% passed to you from each of your parents was a shuffled combination of genetics so, unless you and a sibling are identical twins, you can expect your results to be different than your siblings. Recombination is purely random, so one sibling could inherit substantial chunks of DNA that the other sibling did not inherit—or vice versa. Sometimes, the differences in results can be surprising.

My brother and I each tested with AncestryDNA, a company that offers the Autosomal DNA SNP test (we have also tested with competitive companies, which offer different types of tests and differing abilities to analyze resulting data). A genealogical DNA test studies a person’s genome at specific locations, and several different types of tests are available. The Autosomal test utilizes DNA from the 22 matched pairs of autosomal chromosomes we all have, or “autosomes.” For the record, you actually have 23 pairs of chromosomes. The remaining pair, called the sex chromosome, determines your gender, male or female. An Autosomal DNA test may be taken by either a male or female, and is often used to search for relatives (on either side of the family tree), called “DNA cousin matches,” up to a maximum of 6 – 8 generations back.

The Ancestry test also provides participants a colorful pie chart, which gives you a percentage breakdown of your ethnicity by region. It is called an Ethnicity Estimate or an admixture test. Ancestry, the company, divides the world into about 25 modern reference populations, or regions, and the approximate percentage of DNA inherited from each is provided. Sections of your DNA are identified that best match the reference databases. However, the reliability of the results is dependent on a number of variables, such as comparative population size (which can be limited), the number of markers tested, and the degree of admixture in the person tested. Distinguishing between populations within continents can be difficult as well, genetic ancestry does not respect country borders, which change often, or the migration of ancestors long ago. A person with “known” German ancestry may find zero German DNA in his/her results. This issue, most likely, is that at some point in history the ancestors of this family, who did not originate in Germany, moved to Germany and “became” German. But that does not make them genetically German.

Fortunately, as science and technology improves accuracy of the ethnicity reports continues to improve and to provide greater depth of detail. For example, results previously defined as Western European are now being broken down into subgroups such as English and French or Irish, German, etc. Results only defined as African previously are starting to break down into specific countries. Southern Europe is broken off from the Iberian Peninsula. As new algorithms are developed providing more accurate results, these improved results will show up in your account at no additional charge.

The test results for my brother and me state that we are “immediate family”—in other words, full bio brother and sister. That’s good to know! But then the results follow different paths. My brother’s DNA test results provided the following Ethnicity Estimates:

91% Great Britain 5% Ireland 3% Trace Regions (Italy/Greece)

According to the current AncestryDNA algorithms, my ethnicity admixture results are:

My Ethnicity Estimate from AncestryDNA

37% Great Britain 29% Ireland 21% Europe West 8% Italy/Greece

Since I now know that I’m 24% more Irish than my brother, I will celebrate a bit harder at St. Patrick’s Day this year!

My admixture notes a 21% Europe West contribution, which doesn’t show up in my brother’s estimates at all. Europe West is defined as primarily Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. On our maternal side, we have three lines that trace back to France and two lines tracing back to Germany. Somehow, more of our maternal line DNA was passed to me versus my brother. I guess random genetics at work.

The bottom line of those results: Ethnicity estimations remain a science that are still a bit fuzzy. Humans have moved too far over too many thousands of years for it to be reliable history of where ancestors originated. And as each parent may pass a different and variable percentage of an ethnicity down to their children, results can be surprising. So, be open minded to the results received. As well, get as many of your siblings tested as possible. Doing so opens up new insights into your full ethnicity story, as well as the possibilities of finding additional cousins.

Do you have any unusual or surprising ethnicity estimates between you and siblings? If so, let me hear about them!

New Ancestry DNA Feature: Connecting Matches to Your Tree

Ancestry has unveiled a new convenient feature: the ability to link a DNA match to their entry in your tree. No one can see the resulting tag but you or someone with whom you have shared your DNA results.

In the past, I would add the pathway to the relationship in the notes for a match. Below is how the match to my second cousin John looks now. The tree icon with a check next to his name means that I have connected this match to my tree. Clicking on that icon will take you to a view of him within my tree. On the right you can see how I explained his connection to me in the notes next to the notepad icon.

Over in your tree, each person that has been connected to a DNA match also has that icon on their image. Here is how my brother looks in the pedigree view in my tree now with the new icon next to a green leaf. People I have shared BOTH my tree and DNA with can also see that icon but not on the living unless they specifically have permission to see living people in your tree. Also they have to have turned on “connected DNA Matches” from the DNA icon at the bottom of the far left tower of icons. That icon is only there when a DNA test is connected to that tree. Clicking it slides in a panel on the right where you can select which DNA icons you want to see. For example, since I have turned on the ThruLines indicator, my parents and grandparents have the ThruLines icon showing in the image below.

Pedigree view of my brother, yellow arrow pointing to the DNA icon added by me

Why is this useful you may ask? Well for me it is most useful on those distant cousins with no trees whose relationship I figured out a while back and have probably forgotten the details of by now. Or maybe Ancestry found it for me and I added that family branch to my tree (click here for my post for how to easily do that).

Since I have shared both my DNA and my tree with my brother and a few interested cousins, they can look at my match list for those icons to see if I have already figured out how a newly found cousin connects to us.

The other time I have found this new feature to be really useful is when I have a research tree for an unknown parentage case and have built out the tree of a match as a floating branch within that tree to much more depth than they had in their own tree. Now I can connect those matches so that I can quickly click to see what I have built for them.

Here is the step by step of how to set up a connection with this new tool using my brother as an example.

This is how my brother looked on my match list before. I clicked on his name to get to his match page where I could make the new connection.

Here is how my brother’s match page looked before I connected his DNA match with me to my tree:

New icon for making connection

At the top of the match page next to his name is a new icon, a little family tree chart in a circle with a plus. Clicking on that icon gets a panel sliding in from the right where I can search for him in my tree using the Ancestry auto-complete.

To the right is the screen shot of how it looked when I typed in “shipley.”

Clicking on the name you want in the auto complete list links this DNA match to that person in your tree. I clicked on his name and now the top of my brother’s match page looks like this.

Notice that the icon next to his name has changed, the plus is gone, replaced by a check mark, and the background is solid. This is the same as the one on the page with the list of matches which indicates that this person is connected to my tree. Clicking on that icon here slides in a panel on the right as shown above which lists his entry in your tree.

In the tree itself, the same icon appears on my brother’s entry because I have turned on those icons. Clicking on the icon in the tree pops up his box but now there is a new line there that says “Connected to DNA Match” like this:

Clicking on that line expands the box so that it shows information about the match and is clickable either to the match page via the green button that says “View match profile” or to the match list via the underlined “Kitty Munson Cooper’s DNA Matches.

Tracing Dad’s Ancestry Without His DNA

A common problem that people encounter when trying to trace their roots on a particular parent's side using DNA testing is that the parent is dead or not available to them. The reader below has encountered this roadblock, but there are ways around it.

I was adopted in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1972, and my province has closed adoption records. I now know the identity of my white birth mother, but she has refused contact with me and will not say who my black birth father is or was. With no name and very few clues about him, I have been unable to find any leads on his identity. I wonder if there is anything else I can do.

From what I understand, DNA testing will not help me find out about my birth father's ancestry, unless I have a relative from my father's side to compare DNA with. Is that correct? Is there any type of DNA testing that could help me in my search for my father? —Kate Foster

As more people have their DNA tested and as the results databases grow, you will have an increasingly better chance of connecting with your birth father by genetic means. While it is true that you are unable to trace your father's identity through his Y-DNA (the traditional male paternity signature) because a female does not inherit it, do not despair: There is another method. Autosomal DNA testing looks at the 22 pairs of chromosomes that do not determine gender. This can be very useful in identifying relationships within five generations of yourself, without being limited to only maternal ancestors.

It is true that your results will be most useful if your biological father or one of his close relatives (preferably his brothers or sisters or his first cousins) also had genetic data registered with the DNA testing company you use. Companies like 23andMe (through DNA Relatives) and Family Tree DNA (through Family Finder), as well as and Genographic , can compare the data from these autosomes for shared segments. You should take tests with each of these companies, since their databases are proprietary—that is, they are not shared or overlapping.

The closer the genetic relationship you have with a person in one of these databases, the more identical segments of DNA you will share. And these companies even determine, through the lengths of these segments, if you have a brother or sister in the databases or, indeed, if you descend from a parent. But we stress that this is a very long shot.

According to the 23andMe website , "DNA Relatives uses the length and number of these identical segments to predict the relationship between people." If your birth father himself has contributed his DNA results, you will be able to tell [if] he is your father. A 30 to 40 percent match with someone probably indicates that the person is your half-sibling. 23andMe and Family Finder both display predicted relationships between you and the people whose DNA aligns with yours to some degree. This means that by submitting your DNA results, you would be casting a net and hoping that a relative on your father's side has contributed DNA as well. Should you find any such people, you can contact them through the company you have both joined.

The autosomal results clearly separate what you inherited from your father, as opposed to what you received from your mother's side of the family. Due to the difference in race, you should be able to see which side is which. Concentrating on your paternal side, you can see what ancestry he has and if he may have passed on any risks for medical conditions. Any non-African ancestry, or particularly high chances for certain medical conditions, could provide clues as to your paternity, too, since companies test for these things. At the very least, this will allow you to understand your own ancestry and what risks you may have inherited from his side.

Outside of DNA, there still may be some options for tracking down your biological father's ancestry through more traditional routes. Now that you know your biological mother's name, perhaps you can start by further researching her and her close relatives. This may bring to light any men she came in contact with around the time of your birth. Were they neighbors, co-workers, school mates or in some other way connected? You can try finding resources like city directories, phone books, local newspapers and school yearbooks to help determine this.

Since you'll be searching fairly recent resources, the best place to find these may be in the local library where your biological mother grew up or at the school(s) she attended. For that matter, there may be someone working in one of these centers who knew your parents who can tell you about them. If you can put together a list of possible fathers, you can work toward ruling them out until you come to one (or a few) with whom it might be worth following up. Researching your birth mother's family could also lead to someone willing to share more information with you about your father.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and founding director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is also the editor-in-chief of The Root. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .

I Was the Odd Woman Out

Oh wow. I was reeling. But our DNA had more surprises in store.

All three of my sisters received a good portion of ethnicity from Europe West — and I basically got none.

In the first moment I almost felt robbed. But then I realized my ethnic mix is just different but every bit as awesome.

I am, for example, the most British (cue British accent and Britishisms like “Bob’s your uncle”).

Should your sibling get a DNA test if you did?

They may be siblings, but only one is French.

Ultimately, we wish that our parents would have taken the DNA test too, so that we could get a better sense of where certain elements of the breakdown were coming from. For example, I had a nearly identical chart to one of my cousins who’d also had their DNA analyzed, but my sister’s chart was very different. It would have been cool to learn if my mother's DNA test lined up with mine and the cousin's, since he's on her side of the family, or if our mother and father's sides are really similar in terms of countries of origin and history.

One cool thing about AncestryDNA is that if your parents take a test, Ancestry will be able to inform you if cousins and relatives that appear in your matches are from your mother's side or your father's side. If you're looking into your family tree and working on building out your connections to your matches, this could be extremely valuable and is well worth looking into. What's more, Ancestry also recommends testing your oldest family member first if you're planning on looking into "who came from where," so consider gifting the DNA kit to grandma instead of your sibling.

Taking tests with our siblings was an incredibly fun and informative experience. Would we do it again? Absolutely. Was it completely necessary to grasp our heritages? No. It boils down to what your reasons are for taking a DNA test in the first place.

Another possibility is that this 2nd cousin, once removed match is actually a 1/2 2nd cousin, once removed. In other words, the common ancestor may have had two wives and you and your brother are descended from the common ancestor and one wife and the match is descended from the common ancestor and another wife he had.

That would further reduce the amount of shared DNA. If so, it would increase the chances that, although you share enough DNA to be declared a match, your brother doesn't.

You should check with the match and verify that she shares a full set of common ancestors and not just one ancestor in a marriage. If she is a full 2nd cousin, once removed, then it's as you say - just a very rare instance of your brother not sharing enough DNA with her to be declared a match.

Welcome to the Relatedness Calculator

The relatedness between two people is expressed with two measures:

  • Relatedness coefficient: what percentage of your genes you share.
  • Degree of relation: how far you are from that person in your family tree.

So, your half-brother is 25% related to you and 2 steps removed from you in your family tree.

  • The curious case of double cousins occurs when two siblings from one family each marry two siblings from another family. Double cousins share 25% of their genes &mdash the same as grandparents/grandchildren and half-siblings. No incest involved, but it's still kind of weird!
  • Although it is illegal in many places, over 10% of marriages worldwide are between cousins. Famous cousin-marriers include Charles Darwin, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Shelbyville Manhattan.
  • In terms of relatedness, you are just as likely to "take after" your uncle (25%) as your grandfather (25%).
  • "Once removed," "twice removed," etc. refers to the distance up or down your family tree relative to a cousin. For instance, a "second cousin, once removed" could be either your second cousin's child or your parent's second cousin. have the same relatedness coefficient as regular siblings (50%), but identical twins share 100% of their genes. So you're as closely related to your identical twin's children (50%) as to your own children (50%)!
  • If there has been incest in your ancestry, you can calculate your relatedness coefficient to other family members by adding in any extra coefficients due to the incest. For instance, if your parents are cousins, then your relatedness to your father is 56.25%, because he's your father (50%), as well as your mother's cousin (6.25%).
  • Despite what you may have seen on Futurama, it is not possible for Fry to be his own grandfather. He would need to share 125% of his genes with himself.

Richard Dawkins gives a great explanation of how to calculate relatedness coefficients in The Selfish Gene:

First identify all the common ancestors of A and B. For instance, the common ancestors of a pair of first cousins are their shared grandfather and grandmother. Once you have found a common ancestor, it is of course logically true that all his ancestors are common to A and B as well. However, we ignore all but the most recent common ancestors. In this sense, first cousins have only two common ancestors. If B is a lineal descendant of A, for instance his great grandson, then A himself is the ‘common ancestor’ we are looking for.

Having located the common ancestor(s) of A and B, count the generation distance as follows. Starting at A, climb up the family tree until you hit a common ancestor, and then climb down again to B. The total number of steps up the tree and then down again is the generation distance. For instance, if A is B’s uncle, the generation distance is 3. The common ancestor is A’s father (say) and B’s grandfather. Starting at A you have to climb up one generation in order to hit the common ancestor. Then to get down to B you have to descend two generations on the other side. Therefore the generation distance is 1 + 2 = 3.

Having found the generation distance between A and B via a particular common ancestor, calculate that part of their relatedness for which that ancestor is responsible. To do this, multiply 1/2 by itself once for each step of the generation distance. If the generation distance is 3, this means calculate 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 or (1/2)^3. If the generation distance via a particular ancestor is equal to g steps, the portion of relatedness due to that ancestor is (1/2)^g.

But this is only part of the relatedness between A and B. If they have more than one common ancestor we have to add on the equivalent figure for each ancestor. It is usually the case that the generation distance is the same for all common ancestors of a pair of individuals. Therefore, having worked out the relatedness between A and B due to any one of the ancestors, all you have to do in practice is to multiply by the number of ancestors. First cousins, for instance, have two common ancestors, and the generation distance via each one is 4. Therefore their relatedness is 2 x (1/2)^4 = 1/8. If A is B’s great-grandchild, the generation distance is 3 and the number of common ‘ancestors’ is 1 (B himself), so the relatedness is 1 x (1/2)^3 = 1/8.

Can Females Trace Their Paternal Line?

You may hear about DNA in the news or in conversations. But what is DNA, really?

Learning about your roots might trigger an incredible curiosity for your family’s history. And, while the breakdown of your biogeographical ancestry might have answered most of your questions, many more may arise.

Whether you want to learn more details about your blood line, where and when it originated, or its migration and evolution patterns, you can know more about your blood line with a simple upgrade of your ancestry DNA test, in the form of a “haplogroup report.”

A haplogroup represents a group of people who share a common ancestor. A haplogroup report will help you discover many amazing facts about your maternal or paternal blood lines.

There are two types of haplogroups:

  • mtDNA Haplogroup: Both men and women have mtDNA, or mitochondrial DNA, in their bodies, but it is only passed down by mothers to their daughters, in a direct female line of descent. That’s why it allows you to discover your mother’s line, whether you are a man or a woman.
  • Y-DNA Haplogroup: Human Y chromosome is male-specific. It passes its variations on from father to son only, in a direct male line of descent. As a result, only men can follow their paternal lineage.

Unfortunately, that means that woman can’t follow their paternal lineage on their own. But, they CAN learn about their paternal blood line through a man directly related to their paternal grandfather.

Take a look at “YOU,” the woman at the bottom left of the above image. Her mt-DNA is the same as “MOM” and “GRANDMA,” as well as “UNCLE” and “BROTHER” (in green in Figure 1). They are part of the same mt-DNA haplogroup, because they have one common ancestor: “GRANDMA.” If any of these people takes a mt-DNA haplogroup test, they’ll have the same results. Thus, only one of them needs to be tested in order for all of them to learn about their maternal line.

Now, because “YOU” doesn’t have any Y-DNA in her body (remember that it’s only passed down by the Y chromosome, absent in women), she can’t learn about her Y-DNA line on her own. If you go back to the same picture, you will see that “BROTHER” inherited his Y-DNA from “DAD” (in yellow in Figure 1-3). If “YOU” and “BROTHER” are full siblings (we will accept this theory for demonstration purposes), “YOU” can learn about her paternal lineage through “BROTHER” or “DAD.”

Figure 2: Paternal Lineage

If these men weren’t available, “YOU” could find out about her father’s blood line by testing any men in the yellow group (Figure 3), as they are part of the same haplogroup and share the same common ancestor: “GRANDPA”. Any of them could be tested so “YOU” can learn about her ancestors.

What does it mean for you?

You inherited half of your mother’s DNA, half of your father’s. Because you’re a woman, you didn’t inherit your father’s Y chromosome (females sex chromosomes are XX, males are XY). Thus, you don’t have a direct access to your paternal lineage. You can still get information on your family’s history (father’s side), as long as you ask the right person for help. You will need to reach out to a biological relative sharing your paternal line.

Unfortunately, if you were adopted, that might be difficult, if not impossible. However, you will still be able to discover your maternal blood line (mtDNA haplogroup report), as well as your regions of origins (Biogeographical Ancestry Report).

If you do have one living relative with whom you share a common male ancestor, ask him to take the test for you. His results will inform you on your Y-DNA line and all the events it went through (origins, evolution, migrations).

The tree below illustrates who shares your paternal lineage (in yellow):

Figure 3: Family Tree showing the Y-DNA lineage

As you can see, your paternal lineage is widely spread within your family, from your nephews (through your brother) and your cousin’s son (through your uncle), to your grandfather. Families have many branches. You will find your Y-DNA line by following one that is directly connected to your father. The distance between your father and that other male relative isn’t important, as long as they have the same male ancestor.

As an example (Figure 4), your cousin’s son is your paternal relative through your paternal grandfather (in green). Your nephews are part of your paternal line because they are direct descendants of your father (in orange).

Figure 4: Direct Paternal Lineage

Follow the branches of your genealogical tree and you’ll find out your family’s history.

Once you found a paternal male relative, you’ll have to order a Y-DNA haplogroup test for him. He will go through the same process as you went through. If you were satisfied with the company you chose for you test, just stay with them. But you can also choose a different company, as this will be a completely new test. We’d recommend you try CRI Genetics as they have the most accurate DNA testing system on the market today. And you could even request both your DNAs to be tested for paternity, so you are 100% certain of your paternal lineage (CRI Paternity, a branch of CRI Genetics, will test for paternity without requiring a new swab).

Every family has its history and you are about to discover yours.

Please, feel free to post your comment or questions below. You can also share your experience and your discoveries with our readers. Good luck in your quest and thank you for following us.

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