Getting Started with DNA Painter

The DNA Painter tool is perfect for analyzing your genetic genealogy and best of all it is free. The tool allows you to visualize your ancestry by adding colors, so you can learn more about your family tree. 

While this site doesn’t provide any testing kits, you can use DNA from other popular sites. You can also upload your family tree as a GEDCOM file. Family researchers have found this tool useful and innovative. 

Recently, Pamela Guye-Holland joined us to walk through some examples of how to use the tool, so you could reduce your learning curve and start finding matches. In this video short from her DNA Painter and Chromosome Mapping talk, she explains the basics for a new profile.

Note: Members can watch the entire session by logging into the Member Portal in the Learning menu.

Video Transcript


 

Create a Free Account on the DNA Painter Tool

To get started with DNA Painter, you just have to register. It's a free website. 

With a free account, you get one profile. This is one blank set of chromosomes, which would normally be for yourself. It would be your own blank chromosomes, and you can sign up for one of those trees that I mentioned, but you can have access to all the features.

Now, if you are someone like me, who maybe is looking to help other people, or sometimes I look at my parents’ DNA that I've tested and I wanna map their chromosomes. Then I would need another profile. If you want more than one profile, then you do need to have a subscription and that is $55 a year (for 2022). 

Creating Your DNA Chromosome Map

The first thing you would want to do is - you want to create that new blank chromosome DNA map or profile. And this is what I said is that blank set of chromosomes. From the dashboard that's on the top there, you would just click on Chromosome Maps to make sure you're in the right place and then create a new.

They have videos that you can watch right here. So you can, you know, if you forget how to do it, you can just watch the video and it'll take you step-by-step through the process.

When you do start, this is one of the first things that you'll see, and this will just give you some basic information about what's going on. It's gonna talk about that you're creating a new chromosome map profile, which is that blank set of chromosomes. Then it's going to, you're going to be putting information in there about particular DNA segments that you and a match have in common.

And it's looking for information like this in this box here, which is the start and the end location of that particular segment. How many centimorgans that is. You don't have to type these in. It's very easy. It's a copy-and-paste mechanism and I'll show you how to get this data from the different sites.

Coloring the DNA Segments

Then when you copy it in there, you can choose whatever color you want for that particular segment. You name it, you know, with who you got it from and, and like who you think the common ancestors are. And, and they do suggest that if you want, you could maybe try to assign particular colors to your four sets of grandparents.

You'll see, I've done something like that and the examples, when we get there. This is what a blank set of DNA chromosomes look like. For this example, I've kind of turned up the peak in the blue because when you see it on the website, they're your theme. It doesn't come across in the presentation very well.

Just for this, for this particular slide, I enhance those colors a little. 

For each chromosome, you see there's a number down the left-hand column, and it goes all the way down to 22 chromosomes. And the next one, if you were to scroll down and you get on the top, you get a blue line, which is for the paternal and the bottom is the pink for the maternal.

All you have to do to get started is click on Paint a new match. But first you have to have the DNA data. 

Where do you find the DNA for DNA Painter?

You can get the data from FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe, My Heritage or GEDmatch to upload here. Unfortunately, Ancestry DNA has no chromosome browser. So there's no way to get at your DNA segment data. 

The only way to share DNA data from someone (that would match on Ancestry) is that they have to have uploaded their DNA to the GEDMatch website. We'll see how you can do that from here. I've included a link in your handout. 

If you want to upload your DNA to the Ancestry website to judge, you can see how you compare with different people. Next, we're gonna take a look at these four different ways to put data into your chromosome app.

Editor’s Notes

KYGS Members can watch the entire webinar at the Member Portal from the Learning Menu. 

About the Author

Pamela Guye Holland (Genealogy by Pam Holland) is a professional genealogist in Swampscott, Massachusetts. Her research specialties are Irish and Genetic Genealogy.  She also has expertise in New England, New York (both city and state) and German research. Pamela has been conducting genealogical research since 2001 and she works with private clients, as a Research Services genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and as a Green Room genealogist for Your Irish Heritage.

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