Mom is deceased, but can I use her hair for DNA purposes?

+10 votes
I have had my DNA tested and it's recommended to have 2 tests done .
WikiTree profile: Lois Kessler
in WikiTree Tech by Lois Kessler G2G Crew (620 points)
I have a handful of hair of my mother, who died in 1991. My brother gave me her hair to keep as a relic of her, since i never knew her in this life. My mother had seven sons. All of us except one (who is dead) have tested, and are genetically proven to be half-brothers to each other and thus sons of our mother. But i'd very much like to have her hair tested anyway. However, if what the the article here indicated states is true, that no DNA useful for Y-Dna and AuDna testing is to be found in the hair (but only in the follicles), then i don't see the purpose of having her hair tested. For i have the same MtDna as my mother. And her hair would only tell me what i already know.

3 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
Yes, it is possible, but most of the DNA is in the follicle and not the hair itself.  Also, you would have to seek out a special lab that does those kind of tests and it would no doubt be more costly.   I know the big three genealogy companies don't do this, 123andMe,, and FTDNA.


This site explains things better.
by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 8 (84.4k points)
selected by Andreas West
+2 votes
From what I have read the part of the hair that is most useful is the folicle, which would be beneath the skin.  If you have a few locks of hair it was most likely cut off and would not include the folicle.  

If I were you I would contact some of the testing companies and see what they say.  All the tests I have taken were swabs inside the mouths of living people.
by Randy Noles G2G2 (2.5k points)
All the above, AND, there is a problem with the sample possibly being contaminated.  How many people have handled that hair?
+1 vote

You might want to contact the University of North Texas. They do a substantial amount of work with law enforcement on DNA testing. Perhaps they would also accept a test kit from you for your purpose. It can't hurt to ask. The worst they can say is "no".

Here's the link for their Center for Human Identification.

Good luck.
by Michele Camera G2G6 Mach 1 (10.4k points)

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