Testing Your DNA takes less than a minute.
This article is a continuation in the series on Genetic Genealogy coming Mainstream. In the first article evidence was provide of the growing number of DNA tests. In the follow up article some basic concepts of genetic genalogy were discussed. If you have not read those articles or have forgotten all about them, it could be useful to reread them again.
In this follow up article we will outline what is involved in taking a DNA test. Taking a DNA test is very straightforward. There are about a dozen companies that offer commercial DNA testing services. You can order a testing kit from any of them by phone or on-line (see the references below for details). Once you receive a kit in the mail you take the test following the instructions included in the kit.
A DNA test takes less than a minute and requires nothing more than firmly scrapping your inner cheek to produce a swab. Upon completion of the test you mail the kit back to the testing company, who in a couple of weeks will mail you the results. Your DNA results can then be uploaded to one or more public databases (while maintaining absolute privacy because uploads are done by kit number) to compare your results with other DNA samples. Surname projects allow comparisons with people with the same (or similar) surname. Geographic based comparisons i.e. with people from the same geographic origin, can confirm or deny common origins. Surname and geographic projects will be discussed in our next article.
How to select a company for DNA testing? There are only six out of a dozen companies that offer standard Y chromosome tests for a surname study. Out of these there are only three that offer the range of services of interest to genealogists. The three qualifying companies are DNA Heritage, Family Tree DNA and Relative Genetics. These testing companies offer tests that measure anywhere between 9 and 43 markers. The cost per marker ranges from $4.63 to $13.25. As a rule of thumb, a 24 marker test is the minimum you should select.
For more details on the differences in services provide by the testing services I recommend you consult Chris Pomery’s DNA and Family History: How Genetic Testing can advance your genealogical research. Chapter 10 of his book compares all three services and provides detailed contact information. At the end of this article some of that information is reproduced.
Family Tree DNA
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone (713) 868-1438
e-mail: email@example.com phone (801) 461-9760
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