Below are few of the most common questions, along with some low level understanding Genetic Genealogy.

What types of test are their?

There are 5 different DNA Test

  • AtDNA- An autosomal DNA test looks at roughly *.03%-.07% of your DNA, they look at the pair of 22 chromosomes which you inherited from your mother and father.
  • YDNA- This test looks at the Y Chromosome which only males inherit, the Y Chromosome is past down from father to son virtually unchanged.
  • MTDNA-This test looks at Mitochondrial DNA, males and females inherited MTDNA, but females will pass this dna from mother to daughter unbroken like YDNA. Unlike YDNA, MTDNA mutates extremely slow, so for genealogical purposes, this test can be difficult to yield results. IMO, Unless you have something you are trying to prove, and you have a plan and testers, I would not recommend it.
  • WES-Whole Exome Sequencing, is a lower cost compromise between a Atdna vs WGS Test, the Exome makes up *2-3% of your DNA, this is the DNA that is known to have coding DNA. We share 60% of our DNA with a Banana, and 96% with a chimpanzee. The Non Coding DNA has been thought of as "Junk" DNA, but the field of DNA is evolving and it may play a part in the coded portion of your DNA.
  • WGS-Whole Genome Sequencing test is typically done for medical reasons, and is usually ordered by a doctor. This test examines your DNA in full, this is the highest level of testing, and includes all of the information in the other 4 test mentioned here. I would note that with the decrease in pricing over the last couple years, we are seeing more and more people doing WGS testing for personal/genealogical purposes.

Genotyping vs Sequencing?

  • Genotyping is the technique that companies like Ancestry and 23&Me use. Genotyping looks at the variants of your DNA while sequencing is looking at dna letter by letter. Think of Genotyping as looking at a page of Book and everything was black out except the pieces you needed to have a basic understanding of that page, and sequencing is reading every line of that page.

Where do I test?



*Helix is a WES test, but since knowelge of the difference between them and one of the other companies is not clear, which is why I included them in the ATDNA list.If you are interested in





WGS, I ask that you research the companies above or email me with questions, there are things to consider and think about before doing a WGS.


Which AtDNA test is the best?

  • This answer depends on your goals, but I will try to do a quick overview.
    • Ancestry
      • Has the largest database, trees, matching and now has DNA traits.
    • 23&Me,
      • Has the second largest database, it is health & trait focused. It does have matching but at the moment it does not have trees.
    • My Heritage
      • You can transfer your DNA to MH for a small fee.
    • FTDNA
      • You can transfer your DNA to FTDNA, and unlock features for a small fee. If you are looking for distant cousins, then you do have to test with FTDNA.
    • Helix (Geno 2.0 by National Geographic)
      • I found this as one of the simplest and well formatted ones. It presents a lot of the information that people look for in a clean format, IE high level MT and YDNA Haplogroups, Neathdrals %, Ethnicity breakdown and other information.
      • The nice thing about Helix, is that they do a WES and you can purchase additional "test" to get more out of your results, but they are not useful for genealogical purposes.


Since you can transfer to My Heritage and FTDNA, I personally think that if cousin matching, genealogy, with ethnicity and traits are important than I would pick Ancestry, if you are looking for more info on health then 23&me is the route to go. If you want a combination of the two you could do Ancestry and upload your info to Prometheus for a health report.