For finding out about ancestry, companies who offer genetic testing services uses a lot of different testing methods. Your best ancestry DNA test relies on Ancestry lab analysis, analyzed DNA on the Y-chromosomes lineage based approaches are used, passing down and at most unchanged from fathers to sons, also, analyzed mitochondrial DNA which is passed down almost unchanged from mums to children. As this information is passed from successive fathers to sons, small genetic changes in the Y-chromosomes occur. If they persist, these changes would become markers of descent. In the same vain, slight mutations occur as mitochondrial DNA is passed down. They as well become genetic markers that can give a hand in distinguishing one’s matrilineal line from the other if these mutations continue.
It’s pretty much straightforward when taking a DNA ancestry test. You swipe the inside of your cheek for a saliva sample and it’s sent to a laboratory. The DNA is then extracted, amplified and analyzed there. From a reference database of haplotypes, which is a set of relatively linked genes or DNA polymorphisms that have been identified in specific populations, it is then compared to and matched with DNA samples.
If an individual’s DNA sequences correlates with a specific sequence in the database, the information can be taken and put into determining the populations in which that individual shares maternal or paternal ancestry. Your best bet at best DNA ancestry test, is taking this test with a brand/company or lab with a large database and premium lab services.
“Lineage testing can trace your ancestry back to real existing people who carried that DNA type throughout prehistory until this very day.” Explained Peter Forster, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge in the UK and fellow founder of Roots for Real, a company in Cambridge which uses mitochondrial DNA tests to determine maternal ancestry.
These methods though, have a drawback. Only a small portion of a person’s ancestry they account for. Mitochondrial testing traces the mother, maternal grandmother, maternal great grandmother, e.t.c
On a similar note, Y-chromosome testing traces only a line of an individual’s male ancestry, starting with the father of a man, paternal grandfather, paternal great grandfather, e.t.c
Admixture testing is another strategy for ancestry tracking. It focuses on the twenty-two pairs of non-sex chromosomes in every cell. In the sense that, each chromosome have been inherited from the person’s mother and father respectively, they both contain recombined segments of the DNA from all of a person’s ancestors. With specific sequences of DNA that are more prevalent in people from one area than from another area, the test compares a person’s DNA. Determining which of the major bio-geographical population groups an individual belongs to e.g, European, Sub-Saharan African, Native American or East Asian is what Admixture testing does. The result of the test is always given in percentages.
“Telling you something about lots of people is what this test can do, but they are not exhaustive,” said Mark Shiver, associate professor of biological anthropology at Pennsylvania State University and a consultant with DNA Print Genomic, a Sarasota, FL, company that provides genetic tracing services. Some major groups, South and Central Asian ones inclusive are not also represented in the databases,” Shriver continued, “Africa is still more understudied. European groups need to be broken down further.” He concluded.
Jason Eshleman, a senior research scientist at the company said, “We are still limited by the databases. The world is a big place having a lot of people and when you separate it into four populations, you find out there are still a lot of populations we don’t know a lot about.”
To get the best Ancestry DNA test in lineage and admixture testing, you will need to increase the number of database variables to compare your DNA with. And the higher the database variables number, the higher the better the result of your DNA ancestry test.
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