MyHeritage DNA made a lot of genealogists happy in January 2018 by adding a chromosome browser. This allowed users to see what chromosome sequence they shared with DNA matches. But, it was limited to seeing only one match at a time. The newest update allows you to compare multiple matches to each other, thus making all the information on MyHeritage DNA even more useful.
What’s a Chromosome Browser?
It’s great to know that you match another person’s DNA, but how can this information be made useful in determining you and your match are related to others? In addition to comparing family trees, you need to know what chromosome sequences you share.
As you can see from this example from FTDNA, by comparing these common matches you can determine that these folks all have the same sequence on chromosome 21.
Once you have that information, you can start working on which side of your tree, and more specifically, which line that sequence comes from. People who match you on a certain sequence on chromosome 21, for instance, are very likely to be related to you in the same way.
Without a chromosome browser, it’s much more difficult to sort your matches. It’s like having different puzzle pieces, but not knowing what the puzzle picture is supposed to look like.
MyHeritage DNA’s First Chromosome Browser
In January of 2018, MyHeritage DNA match pages added an individual chromosome browser. At the end of each match’s page, you could see what chromosomes you shared with them.
At the top of the browser you can see how many segments you share. Then, a colored segment on a chromosome signifies the exact sequence you share.
If you hold your cursor over a colored sequence, you can obtain more information such as the sequence range and the size of the sequence in centimorgans (i.e. cM).
By clicking on Advance Options, you can download your match’s chromosome information.
This was an improvement, but still not enough. Knowing one person’s chromosome sequence is great. Knowing how they compare to your shared matches is even better if you can do it all in one place.
This is what the new chromosome browser does.
How to Use the New Multi-Match One to Many Chromosome Browser
First, click on the word DNA in the menu bar and select Chromosome Browser.
You will see this screen:
Here’s how to select matches to compare:
- Place your cursor on the box of one of your matches.
- You will see a + in a circle. Click on it to add your match to one of the spots.
- You can search for specific names in the search box.
- When you have selected up to 7 matches, click on the Compare button.
What you will see is an image of chromosomes 1-22 with colored coded sequences representing each of the people you selected. You can refer to the top or bottom of the screen to see what color goes with which person.
Click on a colored sequence to see more information about the DNA you share just like you did on the individual match pages. You can download this information to a spreadsheet by clicking on Advanced Options and selecting the download option.
This Chromosome Browser Improves What MyHeritage DNA Offers
When MyHeritage DNA first came out on the scene, it was a bit clunky. You didn’t get very many matches and their weren’t any utilities. It seemed as if they weren’t sure what they were doing.
2018 has changed all that. They’ve improved their algorithm giving us hundreds of more matches. They’ve added the chromosome browser utility in addition to showing you common surnames you and your match share (if they’ve uploaded their family tree) and a list of all the people you share in common.
This adds MyHeritage DNA to the list of major companies offering a chromosome browser. FTDNA and 23andMe have chromosome browsers. AncestryDNA is lagging behind in this area.
FTDNA still has one advantage in the chromosome browser sweepstakes. It includes the X chromosome, aka chromosome 23. MyHeritage DNA does not. I have never seen 23andMe’s chromosome utilities, so, I’m not sure if they include it.
Go play! If you have tested with MyHeritage DNA or uploaded your files for free to their database, check out the chromosome browser. See if you can find some new cousins!
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com