About DNA Painter


If you’ve done a DNA test, you may have wondered how to make sense of the results.

You might be lucky and find that some of your matches have family trees with names that match yours. But many more will be mysterious, with no familiar names or places.

DNA Painter is a simple web-based tool allowing you to 'paint' segments of your DNA according to the ancestors you inherited them from, and to track your DNA matches visually.

Painting your DNA

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.

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.

If you have known matches, you can 'paint' your DNA by assigning segments to specific ancestors or groups. For example:

  • If you share DNA with your mother's paternal cousin, then you know that you inherited all of these segments from your maternal grandfather.
    (unless you're also related via a different grandparent)
  • Or if you've identified a number of matches who are related to each other, it's likely you all share ancestors (even if you don't know who yet)

In both these cases, grouping the match segments and colour-coding them helps you to build up a picture of your DNA. When you overlay new matches, you can immediately see how they fit in to what you already know.

Read more about how to use this site, or take a look at our example to see this idea in action.

Who created this site?

My name is Jonny Perl and I am a web developer and family history enthusiast based in London, UK.

After I got my DNA test results, I tried to create chromosome maps in a spreadsheet to try and make sense of them. I wanted something I could consult when a new DNA match arrived so I could see where the new match crossed over with existing ones. It looked like this:

This wasn't very fun to use, and as I began to test more relatives, I realised I needed something that would be easier to set up, edit and maintain, so I built DNA Painter.

I hope you'll find it useful. So far it has helped me a lot, and has also grown beyond my expectations. As a beta site I'm sure not everything is perfect, and am very grateful for all feedback. If you have any questions or suggestions please get in touch via email (info@dnapainter.com) or twitter (@dnapainter) or via the dedicated DNA Painter user group on Facebook.

For feature updates please 'like' the DNA Painter page on Facebook.


The tree diagram illustration on the homepage is adapted from this example by Philipp Khn.

Many thanks to everyone in the genetic genealogy community who have helped test this site so far! Particularly the early testers in the DNA help for Genealogy UK group and those in the Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques and DNA Painter User Group communities who have pushed me to make the site better.