By Megan Lane
BBC News Magazine?
A family tree researched by conventional methods can only go back so far before patchy records stymie progress. Now amateur genealogists are turning to DNA testing to trace their ancestry. But how much can this tell us about where we come from?
My family tree is rooted in Scotland, as far back as my mother has managed to trace the branches. But having reached the early 1800s, the trail has gone cold. There are blanks, dead-ends and inconsistencies thanks to lost, absent or incomplete written records.
It's a frustration shared with amateur genealogists the world over. But a record that can never be lost or incomplete is now available to those who wonder "where do I come from?" - their DNA. Thanks to recent breakthroughs in genetic testing, scientists claim they can trace our origins back tens of thousands of years - for a price.
US firms such as Family Tree DNA and DNAPrint Genomics offer services such as telling you if you are related to Native Americans and other racial groups. And in the UK, several operators offer a range of DNA tests for ancestry research.
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