What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than by testing your (or your Mom’s) mitochondrial DNA?
Everyone, males and females both receive their mitochondrial DNA from their mothers, but only females pass it on to both genders of their children.
This means that your mitochondrial DNA tracks your direct matrilineal line, shown above with the red circles. This is your mother’s mother’s mother’s line – back in time until you run out of mothers that you can identify.
However, your DNA doesn’t stop there and provides you with the story of your ancestors before they have names and are present in your tree.
In other words, mitochondrial DNA can peer behind that veil of time into history plus match you to current people.
Mitochondrial DNA can also break down brick walls. Here’s just one example.
But I Don’t Understand Mitochondrial DNA…
I’m at a genealogy conference this week, as I write this article, and people have mentioned that they don’t understand mitochondrial DNA, how it works, or how to use it.
So, drum roll….I’ll be writing a short series, as follows:
- Decoding Mitochondrial DNA – how it works, why it works, and what those numbers mean
- Using Mitochondrial DNA for Genealogy – how to utilize the various tools on your Family Tree DNA personal page
- Breaking Down Brick Walls with Mitochondrial DNA – taking mitochondrial DNA one step further
So, here’s the deal.
Mitochondrial DNA is on sale at Family Tree DNA for Mother’s Day. They are the only DNA testing company to offer the full sequence test and matching which is the combination you need for genealogy.
If you’ve tested elsewhere and obtained your haplogroup – that’s not enough. You need the mtFull, full sequence test.
A haplogroup test tests a few mitochondrial locations – just enough to assign a base haplogroup.
The mtPlus test at Family Tree DNA is the “toe in the water test” and tests about 2000 locations – enough for basic matching plus a basic haplogroup assignment.
The mtFull test tests all 16,569 locations in the mitochondria. This is the test needed for genealogical matching and for your full haplogroup assignment.
The Family Tree DNA Mother’s Day sale is in effect now offering 25% off of the mitochondrial DNA, autosomal Family Finder and bundled tests through May 13th.
If you haven’t purchased a mitochondrial DNA test, click here to purchase the mtFull sequence test.
If you have taken the mtPlus test, click here to sign on to your account and upgrade to the mtFull.
I suggest ordering the autosomal Family Finder if you haven’t taken that test or transferred your raw data file to Family Tree DNA from elsewhere.
Using the Family Tree DNA advanced matching tool to compare Family Finder in conjunction with the mtDNA test matches is one of the steps in utilizing the mitochondrial DNA test for genealogy. I strongly suggest that you have the results of both tests available.
Fortunately, Family Tree DNA is offering a bundled package savings for both tests for $198, normally $278. The regular price of the mtFull alone is $199 – so in essence the Family Finder is free when you buy the bundle. That’s a GREAT DEAL!
Be Ready for the Series
I’ll begin the series of articles soon – so by the time your results are ready, you’ll have a roadmap available.
We’re going to have a lot of fun. Who knows what you might discover!
PS – Don’t forget to test your Dad too, or his siblings if he’s not available to test – because you didn’t receive your Dad’s mitochondrial DNA and it holds genealogical secrets of his mother’s line!
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Is there anything to be gained if both my mother and I take ther mtDNA test or will either one of us suffice? My mother did have the Family Finder test done at FTDNA, so I suppose it might be easier if they can use the sample on file.
Generally there is no difference unless a mutation has occurred. If making a choice, I always choose the older generation.
I’m looking forward to your new series, Roberta! Thank you.
I enjoyed your article on mtDNA. I am a regular reader of your articles.
My question for you is: I did my y-DNA and mt-DNA with Ancestry back around 2008. Since they stopped honoring these tests, I wonder what I can do with them. I have the results saved.
I transferred my Ancestry autosomal DNA test to them but they don’t appear to accept these older mt and y DNA tests.
Would I have to do a new test with FTDNA in order to see my maternal lines?
Yes, you would have to retest. Ancestry only tested a few locations.
Thank you for once again reminding us about the significance of mtDNA. It allowed me to prove my maternal ancestry to doubting cousins. It can help anyone whose ancestor had more than one wife determine which wife was their ancestor – unless they were sisters or other direct line descendants.
I remember when D. Southard spoke at a conference I attended years ago. She dismissed mtDNA. I wanted to say something but was too nervous to speak. Surely she has changed her mind by now. When people get this message they won’t do testing and it is their loss. Do the full sequence.
Looking forward to this!
Sweet…loved this article…I feel like I am on the edge of my seat. I cannot wait for the second article to come out. So fascinated to learn more. I have tested one my Father’s sisters due my Paternal Grandmother has passed quite some time ago so definitely want to learn more on the Mitochondria DNA and especially with my paper trail that I have already hopefully can learn more about my Paternal Grandmother’s Maternal side…waiting with baited breath for the next article…just awesome
just ordered my test I will be watching and sharing to the McDowell project page.
Does the LivingDNA test not give as much information? What’s the difference?
LivingDNA only tests a few locations to give a haplogroup. You can’t do matching nor do you receive a full haplogroup.