Welcome to DNA Painter

Map DNA Segments to your ancestors

Did you know you can use your DNA test to find out which parts of your chromosomes you inherited from different ancestors?

All you need is a 'known' DNA match, such as a cousin.

You can then plot the segments you match with them onto your chromosomes:

Chr Start Location End Location Centimorgans (cM) SNPs
Painted Segment

If you don't have any known relatives tested, DNA Painter can still help you track your matches and identify patterns, even if you have no idea how you're related to them. It's completely free to use.

Help and advice

Blaine Bettinger has kindly produced a very thorough and helpful video introduction to what DNA Painter is and how to use it. Click the play button or click here to view and comment on YouTube.

Other Resources:

For more specific advice on genetic genealogy and how to draw conclusions from your chromosome mapping, I highly recommend the blogs and resources linked in the 'Further Reading' sections of the glossary, along with the Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques Facebook group.

Assigning segments

How you map your segments is your choice. Some people like to use the name of ancestral couple, while others prefer to use a single ancestor. To take the simplest example:

  • If you have a paternal first cousin, you common ancestors are your grandparents on that side: your father's parents.
  • But you have no way of knowing which grandparent they came from, so the furthest back individual you can assign them to is your father.

Since you inherited one of each chromosome pair from your father, this doesn't tell you much!

But as soon as you can identify more distant matches, your DNA painting or chromosome map becomes more interesting.

For example, if you share four segments with a match who is your third cousin, these segments are from your 2nd-great-grandparents.

You can now 'paint' these segments onto your chromosomes. Since you don't know which of your 2nd-great-grandparents these segments came from, the furthest back ancestor you can assign them to is your great-grandmother (your mother's paternal grandmother).

When you paste the data in, DNA Painter will automatically paint each segment over the correct part of each chromosome. You can choose your own colours!

You can also use DNA Painter to paint unknown matches and make notes on your matches.

The more matches you're able to paint, the more clues you'll have when new matches come in.

Intrigued? Register (it's free) or click here to