I’m seriously considering using DNA testing to help break open a couple of extremely difficult family lines. If you haven’t been following the news recently, DNA testing (once used just for proving paternity and solving crimes) is becoming a hot topic in genealogy—primarily as a way of breaking through brick walls.
CNN recently ran an article about a London restaurant that offered one free DNA test every day for a week, along with a free meal to anyone who whose DNA shows they’re descended from Genghis Khan. Many people believe DNA can be used to trace humanity’s common ancestry. One of the chief scientists in the UK even extracted DNA from a frozen, 5,000-year-old corpse found in the Alps, and tracked down one of the iceman’s descendants who was living in Britain.
A team interested in New World explorer Christopher Columbus’ heritage (was he Jewish? Italian?) created a documentary that will air on the Discovery Channel several times beginning the week of Aug. 1 (check your local guide for air times). As part of the documentary, scientists performed DNA testing on Columbus’ remains. You even can watch an interesting online video on how scientists used a new technique (developed to help identify victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks) to extract DNA from his bones.
Because women carry two X chromosomes, and men carry an X and a Y, only men’s test results will show both the paternal and maternal lines. Women can have their DNA tested for maternal lines.
If you’re interested in learning more about DNA and genealogy:
- Using DNA to Unravel Man’s Ancient Origins
- DNA Takes On a Family’s Mysteries
- Genealogy by Genetics
- Genealogy and DNA Tutorials