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My Past

Alastair Greenshields (Principal) gives expert video advice on: Can I use it to test my ethnicity?; Can I use it to determine ancestral pedigree?

Can I use it to test my ethnicity?

Your ethnicity is a combination of your geographical, cultural, and religious origins. Often, we look at DNA to find out where that DNA has come from. The maternal line and the paternal line are very unique in that they look very strictly at those lineages. Of course, if you go back many generations, you've got many different ancestors, and if we only look at two of those ancestors, we're essentially blinkers. We don't see everything in between. We might miss out all of your ancestors from, say, Africa. However, if your white chromosome comes from North America, we'll pick that white chromosome up. You have to look very carefully. The lines you look at are very precise. You have to ask your question “Where did my white chromosome come from?" or "Where did my paternal line and where did my maternal line come from?”

Can I use it to determine ancestral pedigree?

You can use genetic genealogy and DNA to determine where your paternal line comes from, or your maternal line, so you can use that to find out which haplogroup and which broad branch of the genetic tree you're from. You can also use it to find out which family line in terms of surnames you came from. You can use it for close family history over the last few hundred years.