A pedigree is a way of visualizing a person’s family history by putting it on paper. There is a specific way of drawing a pedigree and specific symbols used such that it can be read and understood quickly. Pedigrees can be a useful tool in medicine when tracking disease through a patient’s family history.

How to Draw a Pedigree

The figure below shows some of the more common symbols used when drawing a pedigree. When drawing a pedigree, sometimes it is helpful to write the names of the family members if given, as well as ages and any other important information about them.


The DNA Learning Center has a click-through tutorial on how to draw a pedigree: http://dnalc.org/mediashowcase/media_item.html?id=1084

“Making a Pedigree.”DNA Learning Center. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. 12 December 2008. http://www.dnalc.org/mediashowcase/media_item.html?id=1084.