This tutorial is Part 1 of a 9 part series.
Part 1, What is Y-DNA? <<== You are here
Part 2, Types of Ancestral Markers in Y-DNA
Part 3, STR Markers in Y-DNA
Part 4, STR Markers in Y-DNA - Y-DNA STR Marker Testing
Part 5, STR Markers in Y-DNA - What is Genetic Distance?
Part 6, STR Markers in Y-DNA - What is the Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA)?
Part 7, STR Markers in Y-DNA - Why test more STR markers?
Part 8, SNP Markers in Y-DNA - Y-DNA Haplogroup and Subclade Determination
Part 9, SNP Markers in Y-DNA - Summary of Y-DNA Test Types
This tutorial provides an in depth lesson about Y-DNA and how it allows you to trace your paternal ancestry. Understanding the benefits and limitations of Y-DNA testing provides you with a better understanding of the types of questons that Y-DNA testing can answer. This tutorial consists of a number of lessons that will dissect the Y-DNA, allowing you to learn the details of Y-DNA markers and hopefully give you a good technical understanding of how Y-DNA ancestral tests work.
You don’t need to understand how Y-DNA testing works in order to take the Y-DNA test, however, the more you know about “how”, “why” and “what’s next” when it comes to Y-DNA testing, the more you will get out of your Y-DNA ancestry testing experience.
Y-DNA is DNA that is found in the Y-Chromosome. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. The 23rd pair are the X and Y chromosomes which determine a person’s gender. Males have one Y-Chromosome and one X-Chromosome (XY) and females have two X-Chromosomes (XX) and no Y-Chromosome.
Paternal inheritance pattern of Y-DNA
Your Y-DNA is passed down to you directly from your Paternal ancestors (father to son inheritance pattern).
Only males can take the Y-DNA Test
Since only males have Y-DNA, only males can take the Y-DNA test to trace their paternal ancestry. Females wishing to trace their paternal ancestry must test the Y-DNA of a male family member such as a brother, father, uncle, or male cousin along their direct paternal lineage.
Why does Y-DNA hold ancestral information?
The Y-Chromosome is passed down directly from a father to all of his sons and remains relatively unchanged through the generations. For example, a distant male forefather will pass his Y-Chromosome down to all of his sons. His sons will then pass the same Y-Chromosome down to all of their sons in the next generation and so on. Thus, all males who are connected to a common forefather will have the same Y-Chromosome. This manner of inheritance is identical to the manner in which the surname is passed down in many cultures (i.e. from father to son along the male lineage). As a result, the Y-Chromosome will allow any two males with the same or similar last name to determine whether they belong to the same original family line and will determine whether different family groups with the same surname are connected. The Y-Chromosome allows genealogists to solve questions about their ancestry where no paperwork exists and can be used to discover and re-unite family lines.
The Y-DNA carries information about an individual’s paternal ancestry. Here is a summary of the unique characteristics of Y-DNA which make it suitable for paternal ancestry analysis:
This is a brief overview of Y-DNA.