Diahan Southard

Community and Education Outreach Manager

DNA Inheritance - Diahan Southard Webinar Re-cap

Over the past few weeks, Living DNA have been hosting a series of webinars on ‘DNA Inheritance’. Genetic Genealogist Diahan Southard provided insight into the types of DNA we inherit and what type of results our DNA test provides. Just in case you missed the webinars, we’ve provided some key takeaways that Diahan discussed.

The Living DNA test offers:

  • Y- Chromosome

  • Mitochondrial DNA

  • Autosomal DNA

There are two types of results:

  • Results that link you to other people that show up in your match list.

  • Information about your origins showing where your family ancestry is from.

Autosomal DNA

The power of YDNA and mitochondrial DNA is when you use it in combination with your autosomal DNA.

You get half your autosomal DNA from your mother and half from your father. You should get 25% of each of your grandparents, however this can vary. Therefore, it’s best to test multiple family members to gather as many genetic records as possible.

For example, if you look at your 1x or 2x great grandparents you always have some of their DNA. Take your 3x great grandparents and you will have some DNA from them 99% of the time.

Mitochondrial DNA - Maternal line:

This is what you share with your mother and your mothers mother 10 times back! This is directly maternally inherited. The mother equally passes the mitochondrial DNA onto all of her children, however only the females can then pass this on. Therefore, you won’t have inherited any mitochondrial DNA from your father, only your mother.

Mitochondrial DNA are circular pieces of DNA that are 16569 letters long. There are hundreds of copies in every cell in your body. Almost all of these letters are exactly the same for everyone, with only a few differences.

  • Living DNA tests 4131 DNA locations. These are the locations that are hand-picked to represent worldwide populations, and certainly reach most European populations.

Y DNA - Paternal line:

Your Y chromosome connects you to your direct paternal ancestors. Just like mitochondrial DNA, the YDNA is passed mostly unchanged. There are no YDNA match lists at Living DNA because YDNA matches are based on a totally different kind of technology.

Living DNA - Fatherline Y-DNA History

This section of the Living DNA report discusses your haplogroup, or deep ancestral group, and your relationship to other haplogroups. For example if you are placed in the haplogroup with the nameR-U106, that means that you share a common ancestor with everyone else who is in the group.

Sometimes you are also given more detail about your heritage in the form of a subclade. A subclade is just a subgroup of your original haplogroup. You can think of it like the R-U106 is the great grandparent, and the subclade is like his grandchild. So you are related to everyone who is related to the great grandpa, R-U106, but more closely related to those in your subclade.

Phylogenetic tree

You can see these relationships between haplogroups and their subclades in the phylogenetic tree. It works just like a family tree. But instead of only 25-30 years between generations on the tree, there are thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands of years in between.

Living DNA - Family ancestry map

Understanding complete, standard and cautious viewing options

Your family ancestry map reports locations your family may have come from within the last 10 generations. You will see the viewing options as complete, standard and cautious.

  • Complete mode: Forces all of your DNA into one defined category.

  • Standard mode: The places that you see in this mode are more confident in their categories because it allows for some bigger, broader categories.

  • Cautious mode: These are the results we are most confident about.

Downloading raw data:

You can download the raw data from Living DNA and save your list of YDNA and mtDNA markers to your computer as part of your records.

DNA Inheritance: Cousins

  • You will 100% of the time share DNA with your 2nd cousins.

  • You will 90% of the time share DNA with your 3rd cousins.

  • You will 46% of the time share DNA with your 4th cousins.

DNA is an imperfect record that will not gather all of the people that are related to you, It requires more people in order to create a more complete record of the heritage.

Key concept:

Your genetic pedigree is different than your genealogical pedigree.

  • Maybe you have a software programme that you are using to keep track of all of the names you are finding, that programme contains millions of names this is your Genealogical pedigree.

  • People that can be identified by looking only at your DNA is your Genetic pedigree.

When we are doing research using our genetics we have to realise that this is an imperfect and incomplete record.

We are working hard to host more webinars that cover a whole range of key DNA topics over the next coming months. Keep an eye out on our social channels and your emails for the next webinar dates that we will be releasing very soon!

All Contents © Living DNA Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 10221519

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