Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
The Y-chormosome, also known as Y-DNA, is one of the chromosomes in the human cell that determines gender, the other being the X-chromosome. The Y chromosome is apparent only in males, and is passed down from father to son; therefore, the Y-DNA test is available only to males. The Y-DNA test is used to chart father to son relationships in a direct paternal line, present to past. Although available only to males, women can also trace their paternal line ancestry through the Y-DNA testing of a male relative such as a father, brother, or uncle, etc., who shares the same paternal line. The mtDNA and autosomal DNA tests are DNA studies available to both male and female.
The Y-DNA test is valuable genealogical tool, helping researchers identify their paternal line, recent and deep ancestry. The Y-DNA test may also reveal non-paternal events. The Y-DNA test is used in surname studies, which, among other things, may help researchers identify early ancestors, identify surname origins, and connect with others who share a common ancestor. To learn more about DNA testing and its uses in genealogy, see the GenWeekly articles, Beyond the Paper Trail: Discovering Family History with Different DNA Tests and SNPs and Snails: What is your deep ancestry? ($).