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I am a woman, can’t I know my origins on my father’s side because I don’t have a paternal haplogroup?

Yes, you can know your origins on your father’s side if you are a woman.

Your paternal haplogroup, in females, can only be known through the DNA of your father or your siblings because the Y chromosome is studied. The Y chromosome is only passed down from fathers to sons, and by comparing its unique variants with established databases we can trace the history of your paternal ancestors back more than 250,000 years.

However, even if your father did not pass on his Y chromosome to you, he did pass on his X chromosome and 22 other chromosomes. Ancestry DNA testing is done by comparing specific fragments of your DNA with known variants against databases of thousands of individuals who are ethnic group referents. For the ancestry test we do not need the Y-chromosome, which is necessary for the paternal haplogroup.

The difference is that the paternal haplogroup tells us the history passed from fathers to male children, only the males, to you over thousands of years. Ancestry testing on the other hand tells us, roughly, what percentage of your DNA belongs to specific ethnic groups, by studying your DNA of both paternal and maternal origin. From the similarity of your genes to the reference populations we can theorise your origins.

Don’t worry, they are different concepts and even if there is no Y chromosome, your father has left his mark on your origins 😊.