Frequently Asked Questions:
DNA Testing and
The Culpepper DNA Project
How do you protect my privacy?
To protect the privacy of each and every DNA project member, the
test results and identities of project members are shown only on
password protected web pages, and only if they have granted
permission for their names and results to be revealed to others who
are close matches. Under no circumstances will we reveal this
information to those who are not project members. Also see FamilyTreeDNA's Privacy Statement.
Can an insurance company or employer use my genealogical DNA sample or test
results against me?
No, such discrimination is protected by law. On May 21, 2008,
President Bush signed into law the Genetic Information
Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) which bans employers and insurance
companies from denying employment, promotions, or healthcare
coverage to people based upon the results of genetic tests.
Could the police use my genealogical DNA test results to positively
Your genealogical DNA test results are not publicly published
with your name. Thus, law enforcement officials would generally have
no way of knowing about your genealogical DNA test. However, if they
did want to use DNA to identify you, they would have to have a legal
basis to compel you to provide a sample. In any event, your
genealogical DNA sample and test, lacking a controlled chain of
custody, could not be used in the prosecution of a crime or as a
definitive paternity test.
Further, the types of DNA used for genetic genealogical testing cannot be
used to singularly identify you. Why? If you are a male, your brother, your
father, your grandfather, and your male cousins all have essentially the same Y-chromosome as you and
an individual cannot be singularly identified using the
Y-chromosome. A well-known example of this is that Thomas Jefferson
cannot be ascertained as the father of Sally Hemmings' children
since other Jefferson males share the same Y-chromosome.
Could my DNA results reveal any medical conditions?
The section of the Y-chromosome used for genealogical DNA testing in
the Culpepper project is non-coding DNA. This means it does not
recombine (mix) or have any known uses other than to fill the spaces
in between your genes, and no medical conditions have ever been
correlated with this type of DNA. However, because this type of DNA does not mix and
changes very slowly (mutates), it is beneficial for use in
I've heard that some people taking Y-DNA tests do not have a match
with anyone else with their surname. If that happens to me, does that
mean I am illegitimate or was swapped as a baby at the hospital?
Probably not. If an
individual does not match others in the project, in most cases it
simply means that there is either hidden paternity or a genealogical
research error, but not illegitimacy. Most often, this appears to be
the result of a distant ancestor being adopted (often as the baby of
a parent's deceased sister or sister-in-law), raised as if he were a
son, and later generations of descendants being unaware of the fact. See
Reasons and Probabilities for
There seems to be a lot of technical jargon. Where can I find
simple definitions of DNA terms?
What is family history DNA research all about and what can I learn from it?
What is the Culpepper Family DNA project all about and what can I learn from it?
How can I find out if I qualify for free testing?
other questions about the Culpepper Family DNA project to its Project
Administrator: Warren Culpepper firstname.lastname@example.org.
02 Jan 2015