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Roots for Real offers mtDNA and Y-DNA testing services. For more information please click the links below:

To order, please use the secure online order form (click here to order now)

Our mtDNA and Y-DNA services

Roots for Real is now offering the DNA tracing service, as used in the BBC programme "Motherland", to the general public. From a very easy to use home saliva test, Roots for Real will analyse your mtDNA (for maternal ancestry) or Y-DNA (for paternal ancestry) and match it to our database of samples from all over the world.

mtDNA analysis example Y-DNA analysis example
Click on the maps for a larger image

Roots for Real will send your results in the form of a totally individual map, showing where in the world you have matches, to estimate the location of your ancestral origins. The map is digitally printed, in A3 size (40cm X 30cm, that is, 16 by 12 inches), and an ideal present for a friend.

  • Each map will contain your DNA profile, your closest genetic matches in the global database, and detailed population or tribal information on your matches.
  • All maps are supplied with an explanation, for the layperson, on how to read and understand the map.
  • For mtDNA, we will show to which ancestral lineage you belong, and add a brief essay explaining the Stone Age prehistory of your motherline (also called "haplogroup" or "Daughter of Eve").
  • For Y-DNA, we will inform you whether your Y-type matches the Jewish Cohanim Y chromosome (thought to be the Y chromosome of Moses and his brother Aaron), or the Y-types of Genghis Khan, President Jefferson and other historic personalities.

In over 95% of cases we will find an exact or very close match to your DNA. The older your DNA type is, the more time it will have had to spread. In our experience around 10% of customers will have young DNA types (a few thousand years old) showing a limited spread within a specific geographic region. For other customers who have ancient DNA types (eg 20,000 years old, from the time of the Ice Age, or 30,000 years old, when the Neanderthals were still alive) their matches could be spread widely across an entire continent.

Who should choose the mtDNA and Y tests? Men can choose both tests to trace their mother's and father's ancestry. Women can also use the mtDNA test, but do not have a Y-chromosome. A woman can instead find out about her father's ancestry directly by sampling the father, his brother or his son (who all have the same Y chromosome).

Blood relationship testing based on DNA fingerprint

In this test we scan 16 chromosomes of the putative relatives at highly informative DNA locations and receive their DNA fingerprints, just like in forensic and paternity analysis. We then compare both DNA fingerprints and calculate the possibility of a blood relationship taking into account the global distribution of these locations indicated by our database of over 100,000 chromosomes.

Who should choose the blood relationship test? Anyone who suspects a relationship within the last three generations and wishes to verify this. For example we can test for your relationship with a potential parent or grandparent or with a possible cousin up to three generations apart. If you need this test for legal purposes rather than for personal interest, please contact us at for arranging an appointment with us.

Reanalysis of your already existing mtDNA or Y chromosomal DNA profile

Using your already existing mtDNA or Y chromosomal DNA profile we will perform a reanalysis as described in the section above.

For reanalysing your existing mtDNA or Y chromosomal profile (obtained for example from another company), please order your reanalysis online, and separately email your DNA profile to us. Please include in your email any information on mtDNA or Y-branch (haplogroup) you have. You can also mention any specific requests, such as requesting confirmation of suspected relationships to certain family names, famous people, religious groups, or geographic areas.

Choosing the right test

Many of our clients are non-admixed Europeans or European Americans who use the mtDNA and Y-DNA tests to trace their European roots, their personal Stone Age prehistory, and to confirm or revise their genealogical family tree (for example by testing the Y chromosomes of males with the same surname to check whether they are related). However, other groups of clients have specialised requirements, as follows.

Tracing European Roots A mtDNA test or YDNA test can be taken if you are interested in tracing European ancestry in your maternal or paternal lineage. An example of some of the reasons you might select these ancestry test is to trace British ancestry, Scottish ancestry, Welsh ancestry, Irish ancestry or Viking ancestry.

African Americans and British African Caribbeans To trace your maternal line to African roots, please select the mtDNA test. To trace your paternal line, you can select the Y-DNA test, but beware that 25% of American blacks and Caribbean blacks have a European Y chromosome due to historical admixture with plantation owners.

Adopted and orphaned children Male adopted or orphaned children can select both the tests (mtDNA and Y-DNA test) to find out as much as possible about their biological parents. Female adopted or orphaned children do not have a Y-chromosome and can select only the mtDNA tests, except if a biological brother is available, in which case his DNA can be submitted for a Y test to find out about the biological father.

Deceased family members Are samples from the deceased available (licked stamps, used razors, etc)? If so, please inquire about our special forensic service at Please mention in your email how old the samples are and whether they have been stored in direct sunlight, at room temperature or at other temperatures, and whether they contain any obvious signs of mould (mold).

Jewish ancestry Jewish descent is traditionally defined through the mother, for which the mtDNA test is needed. To test for Cohanim ancestry, males should additionally select the Y-DNA test.

Native Americans and Hispanics Native American maternal descent is very simple to identify using the mtDNA test. On the paternal side, there is often some admixture, which shows up if you select the Y-DNA test.

Parentage and Paternity tests Do you suspect that your child or your parent might not be biologically related to you? Our blood relationship test will compare two DNA fingerprints (one on your own DNA, and one on a sample from the family member in question) to find out the truth. However, please take note of two points. Firstly, if you wish to use a DNA test result for legal purposes, it is unlikely that your test results will be accepted in legal proceedings if you have not gone through the required formal procedure at an accredited paternity testing institute. Secondly, if you are thinking of sampling someone else’s DNA without their knowledge and consent, remember that this might be illegal in your country (as it is in Britain).

If you require any of this special information in addition to your standard DNA results, please contact us at when ordering. Any client information will be treated in strictest confidence.

How the service works

Roots for Real have developed a very simple way for you to have your DNA tested and analysed.

Step 1 We will send you a clinically sterile home saliva test, much like a cotton bud, with which you will brush the inside of your cheek for you to soak with saliva. This will give us enough DNA to analyse.

Step 2 After you send the sample back to us, we will analyse it in our laboratories. There, over a period of a week, our scientists will carefully filter all other particles from the brush (saliva, bacteria etc) in order to obtain a few molecules of your DNA. These molecules are then 'amplified', or grown, in order to then analyse. The analysis is done by machine, and results in your own unique DNA sequence or code.

Step 3 We will input your DNA code into our comprehensive database to produce matches - other people in the world with whom you share the same DNA sequence. We plot these matches on our world map, and use them to estimate where you should find your true ancestral origins.

Your sample will be analysed and your results will be sent to you within 6 weeks after we receive your sample.

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