Know Thy Ancestors

Published: January 31st 2011
in News » World

DNA Helix

Genealogy or perhaps “Jewnealogy”? If you've ever wondered where your ancestors came from or how many generations back your family is Jewish then finally you can get some definite answers and see your history as reflected in each piece of your chromosomes.


23andMe, a private biotechnology company from California, is now offering a unique DNA test, which can tell whether your ancestral origins were Jewish. The test measures approximately one million singles letters of DNA, scattered across the genome and can show some of the rarest genetic traits.


Traditionally, DNA test have been based on only two small parts of the human genome. The first is the Y-chromosome, which is usually inherited from the father as-is by the son. The second part is the mitochondria, which is passed from mothers to her children.


What we can see is that these chunks of DNA stay pretty much the same, from one generation to the next. The result is that they are mainly used to determine direct-line paternal and maternal ancestry. However, they basically ignore the entire bulk of a person’s DNA roots and can’t detect genetic signatures and traits that cross gender lines.


However, the new test offered by 23andMe is different. Although it has been available commercially for a couple of years, it has only recently become popular. The test reveals ancestral origins and can tell about the Jewish heritage in your family and sometimes even how far it dates back.


Moreover, the test can also identify risk factors for almost a hundred diseases. The test’s relatively low price ($99 US) in comparison to the traditional and rather uninformative tests, has driven many people to use the service and get some surprising results.

Related articles: (DNA, Test, Jewish, Ancestory, 23andMe)
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