Chromosome Mapping with DNA Painter

Diahan Southard

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Chromosome mapping can be a fun way to compare your shared DNA with known matches and assign genetic strands to specific shared ancestors. Here’s how to do this with DNA Painter.

Chromosome mapping is one of those “DNA tangents” some people love. It’s a fun way to compare the DNA you share with your known matches and eventually assign specific genetic strands to specific shared ancestors.There are certainly many ways you can approach this yourself. DNA Painter is a great free online resource for chromosome mapping. It was created by Jonny Perl, a web developer, family history enthusiast and a GREAT guy who is based in London, UK.

Here’s how to do chromosome mapping on DNA Painter.

Chromosome Mapping with DNA Painter

To use DNA Painter, go to the site and register:

DNA+Painter+Register Chromsome Mapping.jpg

Once you are registered you can create multiple DNA profiles:

DNA+Painter+Profile Chromosome Mapping.jpg

DNA+Painter+Profile+Info Chromosome Mapping.jpg

Once you have created a profile, you will see an empty set of chromosomes:

DNA+Painter+Profile+Page Chromosome Mapping.png

Click on “Paint a New Match” to start painting your chromosome and assigning them to your ancestors:

DNA+Painter+Paint+a+Match Chromosome Mapping.jpg

Next, you’ll create shared chromosome match data (from test results hosted at GEDmatch, MyHeritage, 23andMe or Family Tree DNA) by following these instructions on the DNA Painter website.

After doing that, you will input this shared data:

DNA+Painter+Shared+DNA+Input Chromosome Mapping.png

Click on “Save Match Now.” Now you can assign these segments to your shared ancestor, indicate if they are a match on your maternal or paternal side, and assign it a color:

DNA+Painter+Save+Match+Page Chromosome Mapping.png

DNA Painter know how you are connected chromosome mapping.png

DNA Painter will then color code the chromosome graphics to correspond to your ancestors:

DNA+Painter+Painted+Chromosomes Mapping.png

Here are some additional chromosome mapping resources you might want to try.


DNA Painter has plenty of additional tools and resources you might want to try. I especially recommend his free tool called “What Are the Odds,” which I explain in detail in my quick reference guide, Finding An Ancestor Using Your DNA. Use this tool to draw hypothetical family trees for your DNA matches that take into account how much DNA they share with you, to see how likely your proposed tree relationships are. Get your copy of the Quick Guide today to learn about this and other DNA strategies for finding an ancestor.

Take me to that Quick Guide!

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<a href="" target="_self">Diahan Southard</a>

Diahan Southard

As founder and CEO of Your DNA Guide, Diahan Southard has been teaching people how to find family history answers in their DNA for several years, and she's been in the genetic genealogy field since its infancy. Diahan teaches internationally, writes for popular magazines, consults with leading testing companies, is author of Your DNA Guide–The Book, and producer of Your DNA Guide–the Academy, an online learning experience.

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