DNA Test Updates – Part 3/4

“Human DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.”

Bill Gates

mtDNA Haplogroups

In addition to the paternal Y-DNA haplogroup, 23andMe also analyzed and reported my maternal mtDNA haplogroup.

Unlike the autosomal and sex (XY) chromosomes, mtDNA is derived from the mitochondrial DNA. If you’ve spent much time in a US high school biology class, you’ll remember the mitochondria as the fabled “powerhouse of the cell”. It also carries a unique DNA signature that is passed from mother-to-child. This line allows you to trace your maternal genetic heritage, from mother to her mother to her mother and beyond, back to an ancient “Eve”-like ancestor.

Unfortunately, due to the paternal surname-only naming structure that our culture tends to use, this information, while interesting, isn’t as useful in a genealogical sense. While I know my maternal line as many generations back as my paternal line, I don’t have the hint of a surname to help trace any further back.

I’ve long thought that we should carry two surnames, one for our paternal line and the other our maternal line. Based on the earliest female ancestors I have knowledge of, I’d have been John of Keating-Hammersley. My father would have been John of Keating-Durst and his father would have been John of Keating-Warnick. My mother would have been Mary of Migan-Hammersley and her mother would have been Rita of Hobbs-Hammersley. (Obviously, if this naming pattern existed, those maternal names would have been that of someone much earlier…)

Dreams of genealogical could-have-beens aside, my mtDNA Haplogroup is H3, which probably began some 9,000 to 11,000 years ago and is common over Europe. Unfortunately, I’m not sure which subgroup my maternal ancestresses derived from. Perhaps in a few years, I’ll dig deeper into the maternal line and find a descendant haplogroup that is a bit closer to the present time.

But, mtDNA is still new to me. Is there more out there that I’m not aware of, or is it still at the level of interesting, but not very useful in generating a family history?

4 Replies to “DNA Test Updates – Part 3/4”

  1. I have read that 23andme includes a Cystic Fibrosis gene test. Two of my 3 grandchildren have Cf I have debated about doing this test.

  2. Thomas, I’m sorry to hear that. Yes, 23andMe does have a “Carrier Status” report for Cystic Fibrosis. From the report, “The 23andMe PGS Carrier Status Test for Cystic Fibrosis is indicated for the detection of 29 variants in the CFTR gene. This test is intended to be used to determine carrier status for cystic fibrosis in adults, but cannot determine if a person has two copies of a tested variant.” They do warn that “this test does not cover all variants that could cause this condition.*

  3. I have ordered 2 23andme test kits–1 each for myself and wife. I ordered the more expensive 1 on sale for $129 at Amazon. I will post results when available,

  4. Wonderful! Looking forward to hearing your results! To give you an idea of timing, they received my kit on 28 November and although they were originally targeting 14 December, they had the results ready on 8 December. I expect they start to get busy after the holidays with the sales, so your mileage may vary…

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