What’s the difference between Y-DNA and mtDNA testing?

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I was looking at the pricing comparison on FTNDA and noticed that mtDNA, which supposedly analyzes the maternal line (mother), costs more than Y-DNA, which tests the paternal line (father). Why is that, sexism? In other words, what’s the difference between these two tests?

-Jill P


There’s actually more to these tests than just the maternal/paternal lines. In short, both males and females can take an mtDNA test, which reveals your direct maternal line ancestry. MtDNA is passed down from mother to child each generation.

The Y-DNA test on the other, hand, is only for males, since only males carry the Y-chromosome (so women won’t benefit from taking this test). A Y-DNA test traces direct male-line ancestry — son to father to grandfather and so on. Women can learn something from this test by having a brother, father, paternal grandfather, paternal uncle or a male cousin (your father’s brother’s son) take a test for you.

Since the mtDNA test is more comprehensive, therefore, it also costs a bit more. You can find the full scoop on mtDNA vs y-DNA testing in our best DNA test article.

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