These companies use mitochondrial DNA to trace one’s genetic lineage. So, they take a sample from my mitochondria (which I got from my mom) and compare it to samples that have been taken from mitochondria samples found in their database to match it.
Well, my mom’s mom has lots of English and Scottish ancestry. So this doesn’t really do me a whole lot of good (even if it were a viable program).
DNA Tests May Flunk African History
Remember a while back when Oprah Winfrey took a DNA test and found out she was descended from Zulus?
Other African-Americans have gotten their DNA tested too, as have curious people inspired by theories about ancestors known as the “Seven Daughters of Eve.” There are even “home” DNA tests, as I wrote last year.
But a new study published in an open-source journal suggests that DNA tests don’t have much to tell most African-Americans.
Researchers found that fewer than 14 percent of mitochondrial DNA samples tested could be linked to a single ethnic region, and 40 percent turned up no links at all due to incomplete data from Africa.
According to the study, the research “suggests that few African Americans might be able to trace their mtDNA lineages to a particular region of Africa, and even fewer will be able to trace their mtDNA to a single ethnic group.”