When DNA science became available for practical use, many secrets in human relationships were unveiled. Many TV programs show how DNA tests and analysis can solve crimes or decide about paternity.
Though the study of genetic information in DNA to establish father-son and mother-daughter evidence is still very much in the beginning, scientists are making progress and call this information genetic genealogy.
You can get interesting results from DNA analysis. Because of the fact that the Y-chromosome information transfers unchanged from father to son, it is possible to trace the father’s lineage for several generations. Mothers pass mitochondrial DNA to their children. Scientists believe that all people who have European ancestors can be traced back to one out of eight women.
Genetic genealogy is limited to the areas of paternal and maternal lines, biogeographic and ethnic origin and human migration. It can’t tell you much about individual persons, but your DNA can tell you some about the most important family groups of your forefathers. It can help to find the homeland of your ancestors and to establish biological relationships.
If you live in Canada and want to know where you came from it is important that you understand the basics about DNA. DNA testing and analysis can be your first step in setting broad parameters to find your forefathers.
However, if you want results you can trust you must chose a laboratory that is reliable and accredited and has expertise in genetic genealogy. We give you some guidelines to help you to make sure you can rely upon the information the laboratory you use will give you:
Check the Credentials
1. First and for all, check the credentials and the records of the laboratory. Does it call itself an expert in genetic genealogy? Is it approved by the Standards Council of Canada and follow its standards? The answers to these questions are the most important in your selection of a laboratory.
Do the Specialise in Genetic Genealogy
2. Has the laboratory of your choice a reputation in genetic genealogy? Don’t forget that DNA tests for genealogical research do not touch the same area the police use to solve crimes. Since genetic genealogy is still in an early stage, your laboratory should have ample experience in analyses of Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA.
3. Ask the laboratory what markers it is using for genetic genealogical results. For tracing ancestors the DNA analysis does not look at specific genes. It focuses on so-called non-coding Y-chromosome DNA. If you have any understanding about genes and genetic research, this kind of information can help you in the assessment of your lab.
Are They Verified?
4. Are the procedures of the laboratory verified for accuracy? Labs use a basic way to establish their credibility: they have different labs running the same tests on the same material. If the results show variation, the procedures differ. Verification means the lab establishes that its equipment is completely accurate and calibrated, that staff members follow the same procedures and that the results are documented truthfully. So when choosing a laboratory be sure all the procedures are validated this way.
Are the Up to International Standards?
5. The standard that testing and calibration laboratories use is ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 17025. This means they follow common and fully accepted management and technical practices. This also goes for equipment and procedures. By choosing a lab it is important to know it is up to international standards. Using an accredited firm you are sure your testing and analyses are done under international accepted protocols. Your results will be more reliable and accurate.
Can They Translate their Technical Stuff so You Can Understand It?
6. Ask for a specialist who can clarify the results of the genetic testing, so you will fully understand them. If there is no specialist on staff, inquire if they have a consultant’s service they use for this purpose.
What Databases do They Access?
7. Does the laboratory have access to and really uses databases that are typically used for genealogical research? Such databases will improve the organization and interpretation of the information you got enormously.
Researchers in Canada should be able to trust the results from their genetic genealogy labs.
These guidelines will help you to pick a lab that produces trustworthy results that are accurate so they help you in your search of the history of your family.