What Is DNA?—A Molecule That Links Generations

February 22, 2019  - by 
Kids learning about DNA with father.

What is DNA? We’ve all seen stunning pictures of DNA models, and many of us have heard the phrase “deoxyribonucleic acid” before. DNA can seem futuristic, scientific, and sometimes downright magical. But is there a simple definition of DNA, one that is a little less mysterious?

DNA affects our appearance and abilities, and it also links us back from generation to generation. Simply put, DNA is the most basic inheritance we get from our parents—and our grandparents, and great-great-grandparents, and so on. Each of our direct ancestors may have contributed to the DNA we carry in our cells.


You may be curious about your DNA because you want to learn more about your family, ethnicity, or health. Or maybe you just want to see your DNA results for the fun of it!

Regardless of why you want to learn more, DNA testing and DNA research can lead you to a lot more than your raw DNA test results. When you combine DNA testing with family history research, you can make connections with living family members—cousins you may not have even known you had—and your own ancestors. Learn more about DNA and how it can help you connect with your family.

DNA Brick Walls

Are you stuck in your family history research? DNA testing may help.

DNA Cousin Matches

Learn how to contact your DNA cousins and make discoveries.

A woman connects two puzzle pieces.

DNA match reunion - connecting with DNA cousins.

DNA and Adoptions

How to connect with your biological family through DNA testing.

DNA Testing

Compare options for DNA testing and find answers to DNA questions.

Family generation green eyes genetics concept.
Chromosome mapping during DNA testing.

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  1. “This is really interesting, I have been wondering how to know my great- great grandparents and cousins, but don’t have a clue. I hope this will help me”.

    1. The DNA test shows what part of the world your ancestors came from. It can confirm you are tracing the right surnames by showing matches to cousins with the same name, and giving you related people to contact if you know little about your ancestors

    1. There are many different options for DNA kits. This web page will tell you about some of the leading companies and the different areas they specialize in.

  2. Hello everyone,

    Is it reliable to do an DNA Testing? I’ve heard from news that it can sell your data to third parties and in the majority of cases you cannot obtain good results.

    1. I used the Ancestry.com DNA service and I have NOT heard that they sell your data. I had excellent results, comfirmed matches with others on all the names I had been researching.

  3. I have had my y dna results for a long time and do not know what to do with it. I have spent all this money and do not know were or how to start.I have asked for help and I get some people telling me what to do. but is not something I can use because it is not in plain english. I do not understand what is what with the dna results