Down the DNA Rabbit Hole – DNA Painter

My latest DNA obsession is the online program DNAPainter. To be honest, I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about the program for awhile, but hadn’t wanted to venture into these waters. Because I just knew, once I did, I would fall deep into this rabbit hole.

The purpose of DNA Painter is to map chromosomes, using shared segment data from one’s matches. The program accepts data from several sources, including Gedmatch, 23andme, and familytreeDNA. AncestryDNA data is not usable since the company does not provide a chromosome browser. A match would have to transfer their raw data file to Gedmatch or familytreeDNA first.

As a highly visual person, I like to see how all the different segments I share with my relatives line up. This is especially useful when tracking triangulation groups. Entering data into the program can be time consuming—depending on how many matches one has. I chose to import data from only known relatives at first. I wanted to see how much data I had and if I already had some triangulation groups forming. Below is a screen shot of my chromosome 7. As you can see, I already have a lot of data for this chromosome.

Chromosome 7

The purple bars on my paternal chromosome all belong to relatives on my paternal grandfather’s side—the Yegerlehners and Schieles. Based upon the members of the purple group, I can assign this group specifically to the Schiele side. The small purple segment on the far right belongs to a distant Yegerlehner relative. The red bars are matching segments I have with my paternal grandmother’s side—the Fosters and Lawheads. The first red bar on the left can be attributed to my ancestral couple George Rea and Sarah (Jewell) Rea; and, the longer red bars to James B. Foster and his wife Lydia (Dicks) Foster.

Since I have matching segments with a variety of relatives, it is easy to see where my recombination points occur. There are three recombination points on my paternal chromosome—at about 14 cM, 103 cM, and 152 cM. Compared to the visual phasing that I did between my brother’s DNA and my own last year, the two charts align well together.

Two-sibling visually phased chromosome 7

DNA Painter has many great features, such as the ability to see all the members of a shared group, or how a specific individual matches the profile person. Matches can be assigned to either the maternal or paternal side of the family, or even to an “I don’t know” group if the relationship is unknown. Matches who share more than one set of common ancestors can have each individual segment assigned to different ancestors. Groups can be named or color-coded to the user’s preferences. For my preliminary profile, I used color-coding based on my four pairs of great grandparents. If you haven’t tried playing around with DNA Painter yet, I highly recommend it. There are many great features that I continue to discover as I work with the program, and I have barely mentioned a fraction of them in this review. Happy mapping!

©2018 copyright Deborah Sweeney
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