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Y-DNA and its role in ancestry

Y-DNA and its role in ancestry
Y-DNA

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 101

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:

  1. It is found only in males and is inherited strictly in a single line of descent from father to son (the same way that the surname is passed down).
  2. It has a low recombination rate, so it remains stable and unmixed
  3. It contains fast mutating STR markers which can be used to compare with other males to see if they descended from the same paternal lineage
  4. It contains slow mutating SNP markers which can be used to determine an individual’s haplogroup (deep ancestry)

This is a brief overview of Y-DNA.

Next, we will discuss the different types of Ancestral Markers in Y-DNA >>

Paternal Ancestry Test

Trace your paternal line
Standard Paternal Ancestry Package (Y-DNA 20 STR Marker Test)
Trace your own ancestry on your paternal line. You may upgrade to the Advanced or Premium Package at a later date.
$119 USD
Upgrade from 20 Y-DNA STR markers to 44 Y-DNA STR markers
$99 USD
Upgrade from 20 Y-DNA STR markers to 101 Y-DNA STR markers
$239 USD
Upgrade from 44 Y-DNA STR markers to 101 Y-DNA STR markers
$169 USD
Advanced Paternal Ancestry Package (Y-DNA 44 STR Marker Test)
Trace your own ancestry on your paternal line. You may upgrade to the Premium Package at a later date.
$199 USD
Upgrade from 67 Y-DNA STR markers to 101 Y-DNA STR markers
$89 USD
Upgrade from 91 Y-DNA STR markers to 101 Y-DNA STR markers
$49 USD
Premium Paternal Ancestry Package (Y-DNA 101 STR Marker Test)
Highest resolution test for tracing your own ancestry on your paternal line.
$339 USD
Y-DNA Haplogroup Determination SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$89 USD
Y-DNA G Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA H Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA J Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA L Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA N Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA O Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA Q Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA R1a Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA R1b Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA B Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA R2 Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA C Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA F Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA K Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD
Y-DNA T Subclade SNP Test - for 1 Male Individual
$99 USD

Maternal Ancestry Test

Trace your maternal line
Standard Maternal Ancestry Package (mtDNA HVR1 Test)
Trace your own ancestry on your maternal line. You may upgrade to the Advanced or Premium Package at a later date.
$119 USD
Advanced Maternal Ancestry Package (mtDNA HVR1 + HVR2 Test)
High resolution test for tracing your own ancestry on your maternal line. You may upgrade to the Premium Package at a later date.
$189 USD
Premium Maternal Ancestry Package (mtDNA HVR1 + HVR2 + Coding Region Test)
Highest resolution test for tracing your own ancestry on your maternal line.
$528 USD
Add mtDNA HVR2 Test
$119 USD
Add mtDNA HVR2 + Coding Region Test
$428 USD
Add mtDNA Coding Region Test
$358 USD
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