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How Accurate are DNA Tests for Ancestry?

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 3 November 2018, 11:57 IST

For many years, DNA tests were something used by the police but now they are available to everyone. They are a popular way of finding more information about your ancestry but some people have doubts about their accuracy.

The information they provide can sometimes be totally unexpected. People find they have cultures in their DNA that they had no idea about, and it certainly peaks their interest to try to trace their family trees back further than they have done before.

It helps that DNA heritage tests are not expensive so, often, people try 3 or 4 of the online options, and then compare the results.


'Wonder Who I Am' - Lisa Zins via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Know Which Test You Want

DNA tests can be used for many different reasons, including health issues. When considering an ancestry DNA test, there are three main sorts to think about.

The most common one is known as Autosomal DNA.  This will reveal where your family derives from and is sometimes referred to as a DNA ethnicity test. Any gender can take it and receive similar types of results. It is able to let you know in what part of the world your ancestors were from, going back many hundreds of years.

MtDNA tests look at data from your maternal side and will not be able to provide any information relating to males. It can reveal how closely related you are to an ancestral group and can trace your mother's line back for up to 10,000 years.

Y-DNA is the test used when people want their paternity confirmed. It is based on male chromosomes and can let you know how close you are in relation to people with the same surname.

When you see the differences between each type of test, you can understand why some people take several if they are seriously looking to find out all they can about their ancestry.


'DNA?' - Thomas Wensing via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Are DNA Tests For Ancestry Worthwhile?

You will always get some negative responses to any question you ask about any subject but, in this case, there is an overwhelming majority of people who are very happy with the information they have been given. Checking out what people are saying on various forums soon shows you that there are not many people who think they are a waste of time and money.

Some of those commenting had researched their family trees as far back as they could and were taking the DNA tests to try to get some older information. What impressed them the most was the accuracy of the information they were able to confirm because of the research they had already done.

Who Is The Best Firm To Use?

That, as with everything in life, is down to personal choice. There are some that are very well known, and others that are up and coming. Check them out and the services they offer. Also look at the costs, as, although they are not expensive, their fees do vary and then you will be able to decide which is the best for you.

First published: 1 November 2018, 17:59 IST