Sunday, July 8, 2018

My Maternal Line and Mitochondrial DNA

I was thinking lately about who to research next on my maternal line and I was wondering about the DNA testing I have done.  Most people who do DNA testing are looking at their ethnic makeup.  How much Irish or English or Scandinavian am I?  I wanted to take a look beyond that to look at what Mitochondrial and Y-DNA testing can also tell me.   I have been fortunate enough to have been able to do DNA testing on both of my parents.  Mitochondrial DNA will help me determine how far back my maternal line goes.  I have tested at Family Tree DNA and 23 and Me and obtained the same results. 

So, I wondered what the Mitochondrial DNA (from mother to mother to mother to mother, etc.) testing will tell me about the genes that have been passed down all these generations to me?  I learned I am in Mitochondrial Haplogroup J1c3c.  This haplogroup traces back to a woman who lived about 4,000 years ago or 160 generations back.  WOW, that’s pretty over whelming to think about.  I have genes in the mitochondria of my cells that I share with a woman who lived 4, 000 years ago. 

Next, I thought I would look at how far back on paper I have my maternal to maternal to maternal line:
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Turns out, not very far on paper compared to the woman who lived about 160 generations ago.  To date I have researched and posted blogs about the women in generations 3 (Edna), 4 (Nettie), and 5 (Hattie).  I know that Amanda was Hattie’s mother but that’s all I have.  I guess it’s time to do some research on Amanda Johnson Browning.  What can I find out about her?  Can I determine who her parents were and maybe even go back further?  Now, I seriously doubt I can get back even a total of 10 generations on paper but it’s pretty amazing to think of that unknown woman who’s genes I carry and what life must have been like for her 4,000 years ago. 

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,
Debby

Some trivia, King Richard III and I share a common female ancestor from 13,000 years ago.  Pretty amazing to even know that.

8 comments:

  1. Interesting Debby. I haven’t had an MtDNA test done. However, my maternal half brother, John has. I expect his test would reflect what mine would, since we share a mother. Am I correct on that? My Mom was tested at 23&Me before her death. Would that contain the mitochondrial results? I still have so much learning to do when it comes to DNA.

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  2. Oh, I have so much to learn as well, Diane. I believe the mitochondrial has to be done on a woman. I know a son inherits some DNA from Mom but I don't think that will give you mt DNA. I know I had to test a first cousin to get my paternal grandmother's mtDNA.

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  3. Great research, and just thinking of grandmothers that far back is staggering! I have found a maternal line for a while back, but haven't got the number in my head right now...will go see over at my tree!

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    1. Thank-you Barbara! Yes, it's quite a challenge to get so far back. Let me know how far you have gotten. I have lines here since the 1600s so you would think I could find more records but not so easy...

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  4. Hi, Debby. Mitochondrial testing can be done on a male. Not only all humans, but all animals and all plants contain mtDNA! But for us humans, mtDNA is only transmitted via the maternal line: we all have over 600 trillion tiny mitochondria inside our cells happily working to produce ATP energy for us and to reproduce themselves, but we only inherit our mother's mtDNA. Another note is that 23andMe (and LivingDNA) do not actually do mtDNA-specific testing. They perform a single type of test using a product called the Infinium Global Screening Array chip, made by Illumina, that looks at all your autosomes and also some markers for mtDNA (plus yDNA for males). That's why you get an accurate mtDNA haplogroup report from 23andMe, but why they don't provide any comparison or matching services as does FTDNA for their mtDNA-specific tests.

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    1. Thank-you Ed! I was a Biology Major many many years ago and haven't used my genetics until DNA testing so have forgotten a lot of it.

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  5. Or, as we all know by now, we are all only 7 steps removed from Kevin Bacon. Just kidding - sort of. In one of my novels I had to figure out - as best I could - how many people would suddenly cease to exist if a certain man and woman failed to marry and have children 700 years ago. The number I came up with was staggering!

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    1. Thanks! I bet it would be to think of it in those terms. Yes, pretty amazing to think of all the people that had to survive for me to be her.

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