How To Verify The Information On Your Ancestry Test
If you have done an ancestry DNA test recently, you may have seen on your report matches that are confusing, concerning, or just plain surprising. After receiving these type of reports many people start to question the findings. Sometimes the reports will indicate you might have a half sibling you didn’t know about, and you begin to ask “did Dad have another child”? Or maybe you have been searching for family for a long time because you were adopted. These type of ancestral type of tests, which include the possibility of finding additional family members, are interesting – but are they accurate?
Our first instinct is to believe the reports. Although these suggested matches are often close to the accurate answer, sometimes they can be a little off the mark and completely misattribute a relationship. Why do we say this? For two reasons:
- Centimorgans (cM), which test reports show, are genetic units of measurement which track the length of shared DNA segments. When this type of DNA test suggests a possible relationship another individual it measures how many cMs both have in common with each other. It is important to understand that centimorgan ranges are not exact. Genetically speaking, our DNA is 99.99% identical to every other human being on this planet. You might also be surprised that genetically you are 98.8% identical to chimpanzees (which might explain why certain members of your family act like they do!). What is important to note here is that is those small percentages by which we differ from any other human. Out of the three billion locations within our genome (what makes us, us) only a very small percentage actually differ from your next door neighbor, or your grocery store checker. Now, since we all share so much DNA, and these companies do not have a database of every single person’s DNA, they cannot state with certainty that the relationship actually exist. This is one reason that these tests cannot be used in any legal setting to prove a relationship – because they are wrong as often as they are right.
- We also make our statement based on direct observation and an empirical examination of AABB accredited laboratory results from testing individuals from ancestry reports. The only way to be 100% certain of a match of a person made from an ancestry test is to compare that person’s DNA to your DNA directly, and test for a specific relationship. If you are wondering if Person A from your report is really your half sibling, then you should test both of you, person to person, to see if you the same father (or mother, depending on your situation). This type of testing is the only way to know for certain if a relationship exists. Over the many years we have been helping people on their journey to truth through DNA testing, we have tested well over fifteen thousand DNA samples. And what we have found is both amazing and concerning. Since a high percentage of our clients reach out to us after taking an ancestry test, and then choose to move forward, the percentage of accredited test results that come back showing that, depending on the day, between 48% and 51% percent conclusively show the relationship tested for does not exist!
So what does this mean to you? If you believe you have found a person who may be related to you, only a person to person DNA test, from and accredited testing laboratory, can provide you with the accurate answers you need and deserve. Listed below are some of the types of DNA tests that can prove, of disprove, a biological relationship. Select the one that fits your situation for more information.