It has been said that the past has a bearing on the present. This rings true in cyclical trends in economics, climactic phenomena, human behavior, and surprisingly with genealogy. Our origins and DNA relationships can serve to reunite families and forge new relationships. Dramatic scientific advances have taken place since 2000, allowing for greater discovery of genetic relationships, and testing of ethnicity.
The companies spearheading these initiatives are decades in the making, building on existing reference groups, and enhancing their databases to provide greater accuracy in determining familial relationships spanning multiple generations into the past. While these genealogical tests do not expressly provide medical information, they offer incredible insights through Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA), and autosomal genealogical studies.
Put simply, the services provided by ancestral DNA companies, particularly Y-DNA testing for men, and mtDNA testing have proven highly accurate for ancestral DNA purposes.
Why is Ancestral DNA testing proving so popular with people?
People have been charting their family trees on paper for eons. These rudimentary graphic representations illustrate the familial bonds spanning multiple generations. However, their Achilles heel is their inability to cross-reference a global database of family trees that highlights interrelatedness. The accuracy of erstwhile family tree compilations is largely a result of word-of-mouth and the collection of ‘paper evidence’ from around the world.
People are peripatetic by their very nature, meaning that they tend to move about, sometimes from country to country, or region to region, across generations. With so many extended family members all over the world, it is unlikely that any single family member can possibly make sense of these complex global networks. It is impossible to see the big picture without using a professional ancestry testing service to tie all the loose ends together and serve as a central hub connecting the dots.
The benefits of using a reputable company from the ancestry discovery industry are multifold. For starters, the database comprises millions of records, make it much easier to match individuals with one another. Further, the accuracy of DNA testing is far more apropos than simply assuming that shared last names, or patterns of migration may indicate a familial connection.
Fortunately, the costs of DNA testing and related services have come down sharply in recent years, making them commercially viable for individuals. Ancestry testing companies now use highly sophisticated techniques, methodology, and software to compile intricately detailed, extensive family tree databases. One of the market leading entities in this field is MyHeritage. It has been operational since 2003, and has rapidly evolved into a pioneering personal ancestry platform.
How Does DNA Testing Work and Is it Painful?
DNA can be collected in many ways. Our DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid – is present in most all our cells (with a few exceptions such as mature red blood cells). DNA is found in epithelial cells, hair follicles, even in our nails. Fortunately, none of that is required for the DNA testing at the leading family tree ancestry sites.
For example, you could easily discover yourself with MyHeritage and gain fascinating insights into your ethnicity and family members all over the world. All that’s required is a swab for cheek cells from the inside of your mouth. A Q-Tip can used to collect cheek cell DNA which is then placed into a secure envelope and sent off to the company. There is absolutely no pain whatsoever – it’s as simple as swabbing the inside of your mouth.
The services provided by this company allow individuals to create an online family tree, with minimal effort. Fortunately, the software that created the MyHeritage framework allows a global network of users to participate when DNA matches are found. People can then upload photographs of relatives and share personal stories on the family tree. Thanks to the power of social media, these family trees can then be shared with friends and family all over the world.
What does a DNA test for?
DNA testing differs between companies, but these tests typically allow for an accurate evaluation of your ethnicity. DNA testing kits match people up with one another, when there is shared DNA. This is an effective way to uncover your heritage, and provide a pathway to the past through to your family’s origins. Fortunately, the software provided by MyHeritage has been fine tuned to allow for the greatest possible levels of accuracy in matching up family members through shared DNA.
For example, this company has an estimated 100 million users worldwide, with 9.4 billion historical records, and 3.2 billion people in family trees. People sharing the same ethnicity typically emanate from the same geographic areas. The DNA testing results are mathematically calculated and they match individuals based on the percentage of shared DNA. The entire test can be completed in under 2 minutes, and results are available within 4 weeks.
The MyHeritage DNA testing laboratory is CAP-accredited and CLIA certified. This means that the highest levels of privacy are in place to prevent infiltration of sensitive personal information. Many people are unclear of their precise ethnicity and heritage, since many of our relatives started out as new immigrants. By tracing our lineage back multiple generations to the original ethnic pool, it is possible to understand patterns of migration over time. The method used to test DNA at MyHeritage is micro-array-based autosomal testing for maternal and paternal analysis.