Y-DNA Test | Which Y DNA Test is Best?

YDNA is the DNA inherited by men from their fathers. It changes very slowly over the generations, so men have the same (or very similar) YDNA as their father, grandfather, great grandfather, and so on.

YDNA can reveal deep geographic origins and genetic connections–much further back than autosomal DNA tests. But YDNA is laser-focused on the tester’s paternal line only. So once you find the right person to test, you can use YDNA to ask questions about unknown or uncertain paternity going back several generations. 

  • Not sure whether a great grandfather was the man everyone thinks he was? Ask YDNA.
  • Wish you could distinguish between different clans of the same surname, living in the same area (or find out if they were actually all related)? Ask YDNA.
  • Want to discover clues about a totally unknown paternal ancestor? Ask YDNA.
  • Wondering what part of the world a specific paternal ancestry is associated with? Ask YDNA.

Who can take a Y-DNA test?

Y-DNA tests can only be taken by genetic males. If you’re a genetic male, testing yourself will give you insights into your biological father’s lineage. To explore any other paternal, you have to find a male descendant to test.

Can females test for YDNA?

If you’re not a genetic male, but you want to use YDNA to explore a specific part of your lineage, you’ll have to use your powers of persuasion to get the right man on your family tree to take this test.

Which Y DNA test should you take?

Genealogically valuable Y DNA tests are only available from Family Tree DNA.* They offer three testing levels: 37 markers, 111 markers and Big Y.

  • In general, you can start with the 37 marker test, as it is usually enough to tell you if you are (or are not) related to someone. (FTDNA used to sell a 67-marker test; that has been discontinued.)

  • The 111-marker test can then help to further refine your relationship. You can always upgrade later without resubmitting a sample (you’ll just pay them more money later).

  • Got big questions? Here’s when to consider the Big Y test.

Learn more about YDNA testing in this short video tutorial with Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard:

YDNA: Free Mini-Course!

You can DO the DNA—and we can help! Learn more about the value of YDNA in our FREE mini-course, “Why the YDNA.”