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Genetic tests have become a popular source of valuable information for those wondering about where they came from. The question often arises about how valid the tests are. Here are some surprising facts.

How Do You Know Who You Are?

Your father’s ancestral record is located by tracing the Y chromosome that he passed on to you. Your mother gave you mitochondrial DNA that is a rich source of information about her ancestral record. The other 22 chromosomes are the ones used with medical equipment like a Kloehn pump and syringe to chunk up your entire genome. Each small section is a reference point for an algorithm to compare against the massive library of information of previous test takers.

How Do You Know Where You Are From?

The tiny broken up pieces of your DNA are used as a reference point. Your genes are compared to hundreds of thousands of other participants, and their data is used to catalog where you came from. That means that if the company says a certain marker is Scottish, and you have 20% of those markers, then you are considered 20% Scottish. The same is said for any of the other countries the company classified in other ancestry groups such as West African, British, or Asian.

Why Are There Discrepancies About Who You Are?

The problem with knowing who you are with complete certainty is that there can be no certainty. You can only be classified according to what the company has already set as certain categories. That means if you have two markers that show up in the Thai group of other individuals, you will be 2% Thai. Another company might classify those same markers as Asian or Euro-Asian. That is why different companies offer different results.

Knowing who you are and where you come from can be fun and using the information to find relatives is certainly a valid tool. If you are trying to get a general idea of your ancestors, the DNA ancestry test can be an adventure, but don’t rely too heavily on the results.