The prevalence and ease of Y-DNA testing for genetic genealogy means a woman who wants to participate has to find a brother or other male relative (linked through male lines) who’ll take a test. But the following developments increase the DNA testing options for women:
• A DNA Fingerprint test from DNA Consulting <www.dnaconsultants.com> analyzes 16 autosomal genetic markers and compares them to a public database containing DNA profiles of people from 180 populations around the world. (The San Diego Police Department developed the database, called OmniPop, with DNA from volunteers.) You’ll get a list of the top 10 populations where your genetic profile has a high occurrence. “Your results might be, for example, ‘Portuguese, likely Sephardic Jewish, with American Indian admixture’” says company owner Donald Yates.
“In the past, if a woman wanted to test her father’s line, her father or a brother or uncle had to be available,” Yates adds. Women could take mitochondrial DNA tests, which reveal only ancient ancestral origin. But the DNA Fingerprint test can tell both sexes about the ethnic makeup of more-recent ancestors. DNA Fingerprint prices range from $95 to $250; visit the Web site for more information.
• Family Tree DNA’s <familytreedna.com> new X-chromosome test analyzes linked “haplotype blocks” called X-STRs, which are passed down intact over several generations in women and men. “It lets you tell if two females, or a female and a male, share a father, without having to test the father,” says Family Tree DNA vice president Max Blankfeld. “Or in some cases, you can find out if two females, or a female and a male, share a male ancestor within two to three generations.” The test is available to current customer of $48 to $62; new customers can order it for $169. Log on to <www.ftdna.com/description_adv.html> for information.