How Accurate Are DNA Ancestry Tests?

DNA ancestry tests can help you learn more about yourself and your familial roots. They can also be used to understand your ethnic makeup and family history. This article examines if these tests are reliable and can be trusted.

Types of Ancestry DNA testing

There are multiple DNA ancestry tests available to the public, including:

Mitochondrial DNA testing

The mitochondria are structures in your cells that provide them with energy. These structures can be tested because they have their own mitochondrial DNA. This type of DNA test might give you the most accurate results because it has female ancestry DNA.

Y chromosome testing

Y chromosomes are passed down from father to son. As such, Y chromosome testing is solely used to test a direct male line. The DNA test can also be done to verify if two families sharing a surname are related.

Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) testing

SNPs are the most common DNA variations. SNP testing can assess DNA from many variations across complete gene sets. Compared to Y chromosome or mitochondrial DNA testing, this process may be more effective in providing details about your ethnic background.

Why take a DNA test?

There are different why you may want to have a DNA test, including:

To discover your ancestry

DNA tests can be used to trace your lineage and learn more about your ancestors’ origins. When the results are accurate, you can even know if you have living or recently deceased relatives.

Forensic science

Your DNA is unique, like your fingerprints. At crime scenes, investigators collect DNA samples such as skin, hair, and blood. Analyzing this DNA helps them solve crimes.

To establish paternity

DNA tests can also be used to settle paternal disputes. In a DNA paternity test, a child’s DNA is contrasted against that to that of the alleged father. The paternity dispute is resolved if the alleged father’s genes show a 99.9% match.

Medical research

Through DNA testing, doctors can confirm if you are at risk of certain medical conditions. Multiple tests might be done to determine if you will likely develop a genetic disorder. Once your genetic predisposition is determined, your doctor will be able to provide accurate treatment options.

Factors that Increase DNA ancestry accuracy

DNA ancestry accuracy is determined by the amount of data collated by the test center. If there are more individuals from your ethnic group and geographical range, the accuracy rate goes up.

Additionally, DNA ancestry accuracy is subject to the degree of intermixture in your lineage. If you come from a heterogenous background, it can be difficult to trace your roots. However, you can get more accurate results if the testing company gets bulk data from these lineages.


DNA tests are an awesome way to trace your family history and confirm your risk of genetic disorders. When conducting the test, ensure you have enough family data to get the most accurate results.