What’s mtDNA to do with me?

When I first began my genetic journey I wasn’t much interested in mtDNA. I knew my mother. I was even able to trace her mother’s lines back several hundred years. Honestly, I was quite content to gather some names, facts, a few stories, and some pictures.

I had taken the family finder (autosomal) test at familytreedna.com and adding the mtDNA HVR1 test was not too cost prohibitive. I figured, why not? I may wish I had some day. That particular “some day” is today in that I’m now glad I did it.

According to FTDNA (Family Tree DNA), I belong to Haplogroup W. I didn’t take the full sequence of mtDNA so I don’t know which subgroup of W I belong to, and at the moment, I’m not too interested in finding out, although that’s subject to change down the road at some point.

Utilizing an admixture tool at gedmatch.com for MDLP World – 22, I find that my DNA contains 1.45% Indo Iranian and 2.14% Near East. News to me! But what does it mean?

Apparently Haplogroup W is very rare. http://www.thecid.com/ says that “The first member of what is referred to as the W haplogroup, whom we refer to as Wilma, was born between 15,000 and 19,000 years ago, probably in what is now northwest India or northern Pakistan”. The author of the mentioned website also says “Haplogroup W occurs primarily in South Asia, the Near East, Central Asia, and Europe”.

There you go. Some 15,000 to 19,000 years later, this descendant is walking around with some of Wilma’s DNA. But, can I use this genealogically? I think so.

If using the admixture tools at gedmatch I can identify the segments of chromososomes that Wilma is located on, I think this will tell me which segments I inherited from my mother. If my matches share those with me, then, they must match her mother’s, mother, mother, mother, etc side of my tree, and they won’t be a match for her father’s side of my tree where the elusive biological parents of my great grandfather are hiding.


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