Updated: Feb 3, 2019
Your body is made up of billions of cells, which are far more sophisticated than we will ever know. These cells contain specifications, instructions, the coding of YOU - and we thought computers were impressive!! Computers are child's play compared to the human body and specifically, our DNA. Your body is continually making copies of the code, checking it for errors, and attempting to repair damaged cells and mutations every moment of your life.
Each of the billions of cells in your body contains a nucleus, which is where your chromosomal DNA is stored. This includes X-chromosomal DNA, Y-chromosomal DNA, and autosomal DNA. Your mitochondrial DNA is stored outside the nucleus.
Mitochondrial DNA (also known as mtDNA) is passed down only from your mother. Females pass their mtDNA to their children, but males do not. Your father’s mtDNA in the seed that created you died soon after fertilization occurred, leaving you with your mother’s mtDNA only.
Your mtDNA comes from your mother's egg, virtually unchanged. It has been passed down from your mother, her mother, her grandmother, etc, since the beginning of life on earth. Studies show that the most recent ancestor of billions of humans alive today was “Mitochondrial Eve”.
Y-chromosomal DNA (also known as Y-DNA) is passed down only from father to son, originating with a single prehistoric father called “Y-chromosomal Adam” according to biologists.
Both sons and daughters have an exact copy of their father's x-chromosome but only sons pass it down to their children.
Humans have 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal DNA (also known as atDNA) is inherited from both parents. Autosomal DNA can be used to validate relationships as far as second cousins accurately but can go back as far as 7 generations. Multiple tests may be required to connect beyond second cousins.
In summary, your x-DNA and y-DNA come from your father. Your mtDNA comes from your mother. Autosomal DNA is inherited from both parents. This is a brief explanation of a very complex subject which we are still learning about today. The point is, you can learn a great deal about your ancestry by simply doing a DNA test, which is now easier than ever. Buy a kit and send in your saliva sample. Then in about 6-8 weeks your results will be ready. You will receive a detailed breakdown of your global ancestry and have an opportunity to meet others in your haplogroup, which may prove to be very useful in your research. If you can, test yourself and both your parents. This way you can determine which genes you got from who. Testing your grandparents and anyone else in the family will also help bring clarity to the origins of your family tree.
So much time has been spent investigating brick walls that can't seem to be breached. A DNA test could be a back door into the past to find those missing links and break down those walls.