What is DNA?
"DNA", or deoxyribonucleic acid to give it its full name, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms.   Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA.   Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).

The information in DNA is stored as a code made up of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T).   Human DNA consists of about 3 billion bases, and more than 99 percent of those bases are the same in all people.   The order, or sequence, of these bases determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism, similar to the way in which letters of the alphabet appear in a certain order to form words and sentences.

DNA bases pair up with each other, A with T and C with G, to form units called base pairs.   Each base is also attached to a sugar molecule and a phosphate molecule.   Together, a base, sugar, and phosphate are called a nucleotide.   Nucleotides are arranged in two quite long strands that form a spiral called a double helix.   The structure of the double helix is somewhat like a ladder, with the base pairs forming the ladder’s rungs and the sugar and phosphate molecules forming the vertical sidepieces of the ladder.

An important property of DNA is that it can replicate, or make copies of itself.   Each strand of DNA in the double helix can serve as a pattern for duplicating the sequence of bases.   This is critical when cells divide because each new cell needs to have an exact copy of the DNA present in the old cell.
That's interesting, but how is it relevant to the Rayment Society's family history research?
Its relevance lies in the simple fact that a specific part of it, known as the Y-chromosome, is always passed down from father to son and so Y-DNA tests can reveal a huge amount of information about distant ancestors bearing the same surname.   Such information would be quite impossible to determine by any other means.
How can I have a Y-DNA test done and how much will it cost?
You will find all the neccessary details in the Rayment Society's webpages hosted on the FamilyTreeDNA site at The Rayment and similar surnames DNA Project.   When you reach the page, just click on "Join Request" near the top.   On the next page click "Purchase A Test To Join This Project."   On the next page click "Y-DNA67" and fill in the required details.

You can, of course, take the same test without joining the Rayment and variant surnames group project but this will cost you more because FamilyTreeDNA give a discount to people joining an established project such as ours.
Does the Rayment Society have any financial interest in FamilyTreeDNA or receive a commission from them?
Absolutely Not!
Have any videos been made about "DNA" testing?
Yes, quite a number have been made, of which the following is just a very small selection:

DNA Testing For Genealogy
How to take the test
Is there any reason why you have not mentioned the use of Ancestry for DNA testing?
Yes, very much so!   Ancestry have tried to launch their own DNA test on three seperate occasions, and the first two attempt were abandoned after short periods due to technical problems, very poor design and even poorer sales.   Their third attempt is partly still ongoing but has so far exhibited a number of serious deficiencies rendering it little short of farcical.

Ancestry widely posted the following message on 12th June 2014:   "As many of you know, we announced last week that we’re retiring our Y-DNA and mtDNA tests.   Unfortunately, we didn’t explain clearly our rationale for our decision, which has led to confusion.   We’d like to take this opportunity to share the thinking that went into our decision making process.   First, we’d like to clarify that we are not retiring our autosomal AncestryDNA test that we launched in May 2012.   We are only retiring the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests that we launched in 2007.   While the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests launched genetic genealogy and led to many great discoveries, the autosomal test has opened even more possibilities for family history research.   Therefore, our decision to retire the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests is a deliberate attempt to focus our resources on providing powerful family history research tools that use autosomal testing.  

Second, as part of the decision to retire Y-DNA and mtDNA tests we were faced with another difficult decision of what to do with the customer samples.   On the one hand, we understand the value of these samples to many of you.   On the other hand, we take customer privacy seriously and, regrettably, the legal framework used to collect these samples does not allow us to retest or transfer those samples.   Practically speaking, many of these samples are also no longer useable.   For example, many of the swabs were exhausted of genetic material during our testing or the sample may be past its shelf life.   In the end we made the difficult decision to destroy the samples and are committed to trying to find solutions to these roadblocks for future products

We understand that many of you have spent years using the Y-DNA and mtDNA products for genealogy and no amount of justification will offer you comfort in our decision.   It is our hope that our future products will convince you that the autosomal test is a powerful and useful tool for family history."
[This page last updated on 24th January 2016]
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