DNAPainter is one of my favorite tools because DNAPainter, just as its name implies, facilitates users painting their matches’ segments on their various chromosomes. It’s genetic art and your ancestors provide the paint!
People use DNAPainter in different ways for various purposes. I utilize DNAPainter to paint matches with whom I’ve identified a common ancestor and therefore know the historical “identity” of the ancestors who contributed that segment.
Those colors in the graphic above are segments identified to different ancestors through DNA matching.
- The ability to paint or map your chromosomes with your matching segments as well as your ethnicity segments
- The ability to upload or create trees and mark individuals you’ve confirmed as your genetic ancestors
- A number of tools including the Shared cM Tool to show ranges of relationships based on your match level and WATO (what are the odds) tool to statistically predict or estimate various positions in a family based on relationships to other known family members
I’ve created this article as a quick-reference instructional repository for the articles I’ve written about DNAPainter. As I write more articles, I’ll add them here as well.
- The Chromosome Sudoku article introduced DNAPainter and how to use the tool. This is a step-by-step guide for beginners.
- Where do you find those matches to paint? At the vendors such as Family Tree DNA, MyHeritage, 23andMe and GedMatch, of course. The Mining Vendor Matches article explains how.
- Touring the Chromosome Garden explains how to interpret the results of DNAPainter, and how automatic triangulation just “happens” as you paint. I also discuss ethnicity painting and how to handle questionable ancestors.
- You can prove or disprove a half-sibling relationship using DNAPainter – for you and also for other people in your tree.
- Not long after Dana Leeds introduced The Leeds Method of clustering matches into 4 groups representing your 4 grandparents, I adapted her method to DNAPainter.
- Ethnicity painting is a wonderful tool to help identify Native American or minority ancestry segments by utilizing your estimated ethnicity segments. Minority in this context means minority to you.
- Creating a tree or uploading a GEDCOM file provides you with Ancestral Trees where you can indicate which people in your tree are genetically confirmed as your ancestors.
- Of course, the key to DNA painting is to have as many matches and segments as possible identified to specific ancestors. In order to do that, you need to have your DNA working for you at as many vendors as possible that provide you with matching and a chromosome browser. Ancestry does not have a browser or provide specific paintable segment information, but the other major vendors do, and you can transfer Ancestry results elsewhere.
- Family Tree DNA offers the wonderful feature of assigning your matches to either a maternal or paternal bucket if you connect 4th cousins or closer on your tree. Until now, there was no way to paint that information at DNAPainter en masse, only manually one at a time. DNAPainter’s new tool facilitates a mass painting of phased, parentally bucketed matches to the appropriate chromosome – meaning that triangulation groups are automatically formed!
- DNAPainter provides the ability to triangulate “automatically” when you paint your segments as long as you know which side, maternal or paternal, the match originates. Looking at the common ancestors of your matches on a specific segments tracks that segment back in time to its origins. Painting matches from all vendors who provide segment information facilitates once single repository for walking your DNA information back in time.
Some vendors don’t require you to test at their company and allow transfers into their systems from other vendors. Those vendors do charge a small fee to unlock their advanced features, but not as much as testing there.
These articles provide step-by-step instructions how to download your results from the various vendors and how to upload to that vendor, when possible.
- Ancestry Step by Step Guide: How to Upload-Download DNA Files
- 23andMe Step by Step Guide: How to Upload-Download DNA Files
- MyHeritage Step by Step Guide: How to Upload-Download DNA Files
- Family Tree DNA Step by Step Guide: How to Upload-Download DNA Files
Here are some suggestions about DNA testing and a transfer strategy:
Paint and have fun!!!
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
- MyHeritage DNA only
- MyHeritage DNA plus Health
- MyHeritage FREE DNA file upload
- 23andMe Ancestry
- 23andMe Ancestry Plus Health
- Legacy Tree Genealogists for genealogy research