The key difference between maternal and paternal DNA testing relies on the type of DNA source used in the testing procedure. Maternal DNA testing uses mitochondrial DNA to obtain maternal ancestry, while paternal DNA testing uses Y-DNA to obtain paternal ancestry.
Determination of ancestry in both males and females are important in order to determine familial relationships. Moreover, maternal and paternal DNA tests also determine the identity of individuals. Some of the molecular techniques used in this analysis are DNA fingerprinting, Short Tandem Repeats analysis, and Restriction Fragment length polymorphism (RFLP).
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Maternal DNA Testing
3. What is Paternal DNA Testing
4. Similarities Between Maternal and Paternal DNA Testing
5. Side by Side Comparison – Maternal vs Paternal DNA Testing in Tabular Form
What is Maternal DNA Testing?
Maternal DNA testing is used in order to determine the maternal ancestry of an individual. During the maternal DNA testing, mitochondrial DNA becomes the source of DNA. Both male and female children inherit the mitochondrial DNA from the mother. Therefore, it is the best choice to analyze maternal traits using mitochondrial DNA. Generally, offspring do not inherit mitochondrial DNA of males. The reason behind this is that sperm mitochondria normally get destroyed in the male genital tract or by the fertilized egg. Thus, the paternal ancestry patterns do not appear when testing for mitochondrial DNA testing.
During maternal DNA testing, extraction of mitochondrial DNA is crucial. Following the extraction, Single nucleotide polymorphism analysis or DNA fingerprinting can be done to deduce the identity of the maternal ancestry.
What is Paternal DNA Testing?
Paternal DNA testing involves testing for paternal ancestry of an individual. In simple words, parental DNA testing determines the paternity of a child. In paternal DNA testing, analysis of the Y chromosomal DNA takes place. Inheritance of the Y chromosome is only present among males as the Y chromosome is absent in females. Thus, the Y-DNA test can only take place in males and not in females. In order to analyze for paternal ancestry in women, the father, brother or grandfather should appear for the test. Then the genetic patterns of the father’s side of the family should be analyzed.
The Y – DNA paternity testing takes place via the analysis of Short tandem repeats (STRs). DNA fingerprinting or Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism tests are also carrying out in paternal testing.
What are the Similarities Between Maternal and Paternal DNA Testing?
- Both tests determine the ancestry of a person concerning the maternal and the paternal lineages.
- Molecular techniques are used to analyze the maternal and paternal DNA.
- Also, both tests determine the identity of an individual.
- Moreover, both tests are important in building family trees of famous lineages (e.g.: Royal family).
What is the Difference Between Maternal and Paternal DNA Testing?
Maternal and paternal DNA testing are two main types of genetic tests used to estimate a person’s ancestry. Maternal DNA testing uses mitochondrial DNA, while paternal DNA testing uses Y chromosomal DNA. So, this is the key difference between maternal and paternal DNA testing. At the end of the test, maternal DNA testing confirms or disproves that the lady is indeed the biological mother of the baby, while paternal DNA testing confirms or disproves that the man is indeed the biological father of the baby.
The below infographic presents more information regarding the difference between maternal and paternal DNA testing.
Summary – Maternal vs Paternal DNA Testing
Both maternal and paternal DNA testing play important roles in analyzing ancestral lineages in an individual or a family. Thus, in maternal DNA testing, observation of maternal inheritance takes place via analysis of mitochondrial DNA. In paternal DNA testing, observation of paternal inheritance takes place via the analysis of Y chromosomal DNA. So, this is the key difference between maternal and paternal DNA testing.
2. “Trace Your Paternal Ancestry With Y-DNA | FamilyTreeDNA.” DNA, Available here.