General FAQs

Yes. We find matches for your unique DNA in forensic and genetic databases. If you take the DNA Fingerprint Test, we analyze your entire ancestry and determine your main countries of origin on an overall basis. Your matches reflect historical places where your various ancestors lived, such as Portugal, Highlands Scotland, Denmark and the like. If this search is done for your male or female haplotype, we calculate where the most recent common ancestor for those matches lived and what countries his or her descendants migrated from down to the present. For instance, you may discover that your male line came from Scandinavia and your female line from Spain. For a male ancestor, identified by his Y chromosomal markers, these “genetic cousins” go back to the early medieval period, about 1,000 to 1,500 years ago (i.e. 500-1000 CE). This was a time when most surnames were first being created in Europe, so your haplotype history coincides with your pedigree, or surname genealogy. For a female ancestor, the time of origin is measured in thousands of years rather than hundreds. Professor Bryan Sykes at Oxford Ancestors has assigned names like Helena to these ancient female founders.

Yes. Autosomal or non-sex-linked tests are best for this because they look at all your lines, since their markers are spread across all your chromosomes (except for the sex chromosomes). Check out the DNA Fingerprint Test or DNA Fingerprint Plus. The maternal and paternal lines can be measured with more precision by today’s state of genetics, but remember they are but two lines among many. Each generation you go back, the number of your ancestors doubles, so that for 1500 CE (the beginning of European immigration to the Americas), a person alive today has, in theory, over 34 million lines. In practice, populations go through bottlenecks and people do not marry randomly, so the number is a lot lower. Multiplexing sex-linked DNA tests cannot measure “crossover” patterns from the male to female line, only the “outside” male-male and female-female lines. In some cases, your outside lines may not be the dominant ones in your genetic makeup. For instance, a British schoolteacher was found to be the direct male descendant of a sub-Saharan male ancestor, believed to have come over as an African slave with the Romans. About 30 percent of American black males have a Y chromosome that originated in Europe and is Caucasian. Remember:  autosomal tests are most comprehensive because these work by sampling markers from across your entire genome. Read our Statement on Ethnicity.
All our tests use the strictest laboratory procedures. Generally speaking, they possess 99.99% reliability. Validity varies with the individual test and evaluation. In this sense, all results are probabilistic predictions just like any other scientific demonstration. The DNA Fingerprint Test, for instance, requires an art of interpretation based on long experience to judge raw data and provide conclusions about your principle lines of ancestry and countries of origin. There is no pat formula, and we do not simply “spit out” results. For our Y-chromosome reports (male line), we use the same forensic databases that expert witnesses rely on for court testimony in paternity cases and criminal offenses. For investigation of female lineages (mitochondrial DNA), we use the standard revised Cambridge Reference Sequence (rCRS) and Mitochondrial DNA Concordance. Our staff members are degreed professionals in history, philology and the social sciences. They can do what no geneticist can — translate the number sets into a meaningful storyline based on an extensive knowledge of world history, population studies, and genealogy sources. Our focus on information sets our ancestry reports and surname studies apart from the “data-only” approach of our competitors in genetics and genealogy.
It depends. Unless your mother is Native American, meaning her mother (and her mother and hers on and on) was of maternal type A, B, C, D, E or X (rarely T, U or J or other anomalous types), we recommend the DNA Fingerprint Test, not the Premium Female DNA Test. The DNA Fingerprint Test is extremely sensitive in assessing your overall ancestry and admixture. It excels at finding ancestry hidden in your family tree or hard to detect. Usually, however, its matches can only indicate major regions of native ancestry, not tribes. No test can tell you what group of modern-day Indians you might belong to except in a general way. But with the Premium Female we can identify what ancient lineages your mtDNA matches are and provide you with an analysis of the gene frequency for your particular haplotype in modern-day tribes where studies have been conducted and data are available. For instance, certain B haplotypes are common enough among the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Hopi and other Pueblo Indians to be considered diagnostic for that tribe.  There is a good deal of data about Haplotype X among the Ojibwe and a few other Northern and Eastern American tribes. Recent researchers have suggested that about 10% of SNPs or mutations in Native DNA are tribally specific. However, many tribal groups have never been studied. DNA results must always be combined with the testimony of genealogy, public records and oral traditions.
Our databases cover all races and peoples on earth. Please understand, however, that many Asian, African and Native American populations are undersampled. Two of our specialties are Jewish genealogy and American Indian genetics. We have excellent coverage of European haplotypes. Our DNA Fingerprint Test is unsurpassed in identifying populations and subpopulations where your ancestors likely came from. The new 18 Marker Ethnic Panel shows if you have markers for Native American, Sub-Saharan African, Ashkenazi Jewish and other ethnicities. Together (as DNA Fingerprint Plus), they are ideal for testing your overall ethnicity and may be taken by males or females. It covers equally your mother and father’s side of the family, and, in fact, all lines in your family tree.

Which test is best for you depends on which line of descent is of interest to you — or maybe you are interested in ALL your ancestry at once.

By answering a few questions in our DNA Wizard you can usually find the right test in a few moments.

Most people begin with a Premium Male Test. This determines their father’s direct-male ancestry, and it also gives you a brief study of your surname in history. Females must identify a male in the family to take this test for them, since the Y-chromosome is passed only to males.

After testing their male line, many people go on to test their mother’s (female, or mitochondrial) line with the Premium Female DNA Test. This test can be done on your stored sample and you do not have to resubmit a sample, but it is better to go with the Premium Combo DNA Test from the start.

Our autosomal (non-sex-linked) DNA tests yield valid results for your entire ancestry, not just the Y chromosomal or mtDNA lineages. The most popular of these is our new DNA Fingerprint Test. It is sensitive enough to find relatively small amounts of  “hidden” Native American ancestry,. It can also map out the countries of Europe, Africa and Asia where you are likely to have ancestors.

The technology of home DNA testing and automated sample processing has only been commercialized over the past eight years. In Europe, prices for common tests are often two to three times the cost in the U.S. Pricing for paternity tests continues to fall because this is an extremely competitive field. DNA Testing is proud to be affiliated with laboratories that will not compromise quality for a cheaper product. Our reports carry the highest added value in the field of DNA testing. When you order a DNA test you are reaping the benefit of multimillion dollar scientific installations with the latest instruments, degreed professionals and the highest standards of direct-to-the-consumer technology operation.
Our ancestry reports are designed, researched and written by professional writers and historians. Each report contains references and suggestions for further reading. Unfamiliar terms are hyperlinked so you can learn about them easily. Our expertise allows us to offer the public not just data and numbers but meaningful information tailored to their personal quest for answers. The reports become your property when they are released to you. You continue to have unlimited access to help in understanding your results and learning more — that is our commitment to you. Please also see FAQs about the DNA Fingerprint Test and DNA Fingerprint Plus.