50|365 Science & Genealogy (2/23/11)
I mentioned yesterday that I received a kit to test my mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). In case you were wondering what that is, I thought I’d tell you more and show you a photo of the kit. The test requires swabs from inside my mouth and the kit has three swabs and three tubes with a liquid to prevent bacteria growth. After scraping my cheek I put the swabs in the included mailer and will send the tubes with the swabs inside to the lab for testing. It takes about 8 weeks to get the results.
The lab will be conducting DNA testing for ancestral heritage only, unlike DNA testing for medical purposes, which includes genetic diseases and disorders. This will test my mtDNA, which is the genetic marker that each mother passes down to her male and female children. It remains unchanged for thousands of years making it possible to identify cousins around the globe.
There’s a separate kit available for males that tests the Y chromosome, which is passed only from father to son. Earlier this year my son took that test and we’re still waiting for the rest of the results.
My brother has agreed to do the Y-DNA test so I’ll order that later when there’s another good sale. Our father was adopted into a fabulous family and I’ve done a good amount of genealogy of that family. However, researching our biological ancestors is something I haven’t done much on so those results will be interesting.
Here’s a link that has several videos to help explain DNA testing for genealogical purposes.