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.
For more information about transfers, including when the various chips were in use, please read Autosomal DNA Transfers – Which Companies Accept Which Tests?
I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.
Thank you so much.
DNA Purchases and Free Transfers
- Family Tree DNA
- MyHeritage DNA only
- MyHeritage DNA plus Health
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload
- 23andMe Ancestry
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
- Legacy Tree Genealogists for genealogy research
Thanks I love this …
Thanks, Juan Alejandro Sent from my iPhone
Hi, Always need a brush up on the Y and X’s. Thank you! Now, my mother had rare blood. It was AB negative. How did that happen? Did her mother have to have it? How is blood type passed on? Thanks
If I recall, Wikipedia had a good article on blood type inheritance. It’s medical so it’s beyond what I deal with.
Thanks this explanation was priceless. Namaste.
On Fri, May 11, 2018 at 3:53 PM, DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy wrote:
> Roberta Estes posted: “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 bo” >
Suppose I find a particular match on my X chromosome with another person. Do X chromosome matches persist for many more generations than matches on chromosomes 1-22?
Sometimes, and sometimes they are gone entirely in one generation.
Wegene accepts ancestry but the haplogroups are wrong ……….showed R0 and was founf to be T1a1e ( mtdna )……..
You left out DNAland
My two twin brothers came up 40 something native american. My sister and I , and my brothers came up as 1st cousins? Does that mean we all have different fathers?
This isn’t a question that I can answer without additional information. I would need to look at the DNA results. I would be glad to do that if you’re interested in a Quick Consult. http://www.dnaxplain.com/shop/features.aspx
I have 2 brothers and 1 sister. We all share the same mother. But my eldest brother has a different father. I sent his DNA to FamilyTree for a Y-DNA analysis, so that we could find out more about his biological paternal line. My own father adopted him and gave him his surname. When I sent in the DNA, I put his adopted name, not his biological name. (Adopted name is Irish. Biological surname is Italian.) When the Y-results came in, they were identical to my full brother. This does not make sense to me. Would Family Tree have just gone by the surname that I put on his sample?? They have listed matches to the maternal side of the family, which I understand. But I am really scratching my head on the Y-DNA results that connect him to my paternal side rather than to his biological paternal side. Why might that be????
I would make sure you didn’t confuse the samples of your two brothers. I would need to take a look, but it sounds like he may be your full brother too. If you are interested in a Quick Consult, I would be glad to do that. http://www.dnaxplain.com/shop/features.aspx
Thank you for posting this! It’s very informative. I just want to make sure I have this straight: my father passed his mother’s autosomal DNA to me and my sister through the X chromosome he gave us to decide our gender, but that DNA may have come from one or both of my grandmother’s parents? (I’m hoping that I inherited DNA from my grandmother’s mother’s father’s mother… She’s my brick wall and I’m trying to tear it down any way possible).
Yes. That’s true for the X and for the other 22 chromosomes as well.
is there a test that only provides a fathers profile, when no father is available to be tested. if so,, where
You can test a son of a father or the brother of a father for Y DNA, plus other relatives. Your question isn’t specific enough to answer.
Just checking, did you say if I send you the dna profiles, you can tell me if this man is the childs father?
There isn’t enough information to tell you that, and I wouldn’t do that publicly anyway. I do provide people with Quick Consults, if you are interested. I don’t know what I can tell you until I see the information – kind of like going to the doctor. You can purchasea Quick Consult here: http://www.dnaxplain.com/shop/features.aspx
If your father had no brothers or sons, and he was the last male of his father’s line, then there is no test for your father’s DNA. (This is also my predicament, and my father passed away in 1992). I have male cousins, but their Y chromosome would give results for their father’s line.
Sometimes you have to go back up the tree a few generations, and back down again, to find a Y candidate, if then.
I have not found any siblings for my father’s father’s father. (Grandpa was the oldest of two- and the only boy. Dad was the oldest of two- and the only boy. I’m the oldest of two- both girls.)
A man only receives one X from his mother so not all her X
This is a helpful post especially as regards the Companies
I’d like your opinion on the following find. I have very found an autosomal DNA triangulation group (using MyHeritage with resulting levels of 10-15 cM) between three documented descendants (all 5-6 cousins) of my 5x g-gfather, Joseph Howe (English immigrant c1727-d1790 Pulaski County, VA and confidant of George Washington) and a documented descendant (would be my/our 8th cousin from James Howe b1704-d1728 London) of the English Howe family from whom family lore has long claimed a kinship to date. without any documented evidence. Such high levels of cM are quite unexpected in my view.
I would like to see the same people matching at either Family Tree DNA or GedMatch to verify.
Thank you. Yes, fortunately, I’ve obtained the same results on GEDMatch. The TG includes: (1) Julian who descends from Henrietta Howe (b1704) (the twin sister of James Howe (1704-1728) – Joseph’s purported father), (2) a descendent of Joseph’s daughter Elizabeth, and (3) a descendant of Joseph’s daughter Rebecca. A 3rd person, another descendant of Elizabeth Howe, matches (still need to verify triangulation at GEDMatch when/if she uploads from MyHeritage) at a total 0.4% 35 cM match with 15.3 cM overlapping the same TG segment, but on MH, she does not triangulate.
That’s good news and suggests it’s a legitimate match, not a result of faulty imputation.