I know that sometimes understanding who inherits what kind of DNA from whom can be confusing, especially with four kinds of DNA to keep track of.
Let’s Make This Easy
In a nutshell:
- Y DNA is passed from the father to male children only (blue boxes). This is the paternal surname line.
- Mitochondrial DNA is passed from women to all of their children, but only females pass it on (red circles).
- Half of each parent’s autosomal DNA (chromosomes 1-22) inherited from ancestral lines, meaning all lines shown above, is passed to each child – but not the same exact half is passed to different children.
- The X chromosome has a distinct inheritance pattern that is helpful to genealogists, but is often confused with mitochondrial DNA.
You can read about the X chromosome’s unique inheritance path in the article X Matching and Mitochondrial DNA is Not the Same Thing, along with some helpful fan charts.
Let’s look at this a different way.
Mother Passes DNA to Children
Father Passes DNA to Children
You can order any of the various DNA tests, including matching to other testers, from the following vendors:
- Y DNA – Family Tree DNA
- Mitochondrial – Family Tree DNA
- Autosomal – Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage, Ancestry and 23andMe
I recommend that you test with or transfer to each of the vendors.
Have you already taken an autosomal DNA test and want to transfer between vendors? Here’s a handy-dandy chart for you.
Note that while Family Tree DNA does accept the Ancestry V2 chip, as well as the 23andMe V4 chip, because they are incompatible platforms, you’ll only see your closest matches, meaning about 20% of the total matches you would receive if you tested on Family Tree DNA’s own chip. For that reason, I generally recommend testing at Family Tree DNA unless you tested on an earlier chip version at one of those vendors.
For more information about transfers, including when the various chips were in use, please read Autosomal DNA Transfers – Which Companies Accept Which Tests?
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