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The Answers and Surprises Possible Through Family DNA Testing

The availability of affordable at-home DNA testing has made genealogy research much more interesting for everyone. Today, it is possible to verify Grandma’s claims of a unique heritage not detailed in the family tree as well as to see the amazing differences of the offspring of the very same people. Family DNA Testing is not only about discovering the cultures and stories of ancestors, it is also useful identifying potential health concerns. Here is what everyone should know before they send in their own DNA sample.

Results Will Vary

One family member cannot take a DNA test and use the results as the definitive story of the entire family tree. Each sibling receives DNA from both of their parents, but they do not get the exact same combination. The most accurate representation of a family is a combination of results from as many close relatives as possible.

Surprises do Happen

Many people suddenly believe the stories of their family history are inaccurate once they receive their results. This type of response occurs because of how DNA works. People inherit mitochondrial DNA from their mothers. Women then pass it on to their children but men cannot. Y-chromosomes are only passed from men to their male offspring. Autosomal DNA is passed by both genders to all of their children and can be passed down through the generations. This is why autosomal testing of multiple family members, of both genders, is the only way to obtain an accurate genetic map.

Answers are Given

One of the biggest benefits of DNA testing is that some have the ability to determine the risk each individual has of developing certain illnesses. It is even possible to test the length of the telomeres, the caps at the end of chromosomes, that determine cellular aging. This result allows people to see if they are living a healthy lifestyle or if their body is aging faster than it should.

Autosomal DNA tests are used for home testing. These tests are equally accurate for male and female users and provide enough information for basic genealogy research and health screening. They cannot determine if someone is a distant family match but do determine the regions where ancestors from both sides of the family originated.

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