23andMe Updated their Maternal Haplogroup Report

23andMe has updated their maternal haplogroup report. The redesigned version places customers’ own ancestral stories within the context of the broader human story.

A haplogroup is the term scientists use to describe a group of mitochondrial or Y-chromosome sequences that are more closely related to one another than to other sequences. The term haplogroup is a combination of the word haplotype and group.

Haplogroup refers to one of two things (in this context). If you are female, then it refers to the DNA sequence of your mitochondrial DNA. A mother passes her mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to all of her children. Her sons and daughters both inherit her mtDNA, but only the daughters can pass it on to the next generation.

Mitochondrial DNA is also called mtDNA. It is found in the mitochondria (which is part of a cell). The mitochondria has been called the “powerhouse of the cell” because it converts energy from food into a form that cells can use.

The mitochondrial DNA contains 37 genes, all of which are essential for normal mitochondrial function. Thirteen of these genes provide instructions for making enzymes involved in oxidative phosphorylation. The rest of the genes provide instructions for making transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs). The rRNAs help assemble protein building blocks into functioning proteins.

If you are male, haplogroup can refer to the DNA sequence of your Y-chromosome. The Y-chromosome is passed down from fathers to their sons. Fathers do not pass their Y-chromosome to their daughters. Sons will pass a Y-chromosome to their own sons.

Put this all together, and it means that your haplogroup provides information about about your ancestors. Your Paternal Haplogroup report tells you about your paternal-line ancestors. Your Maternal Haplogroup report tells you about your maternal-line ancestors.

It is possible for 23andMe to provide a Maternal Haplogroup report to both women and men – because everyone inherits mtDNA from their mothers. But, 23andMe can only provide a Paternal Haplogroup Report to men (because women do not have a Y-chromosome).

23andMe just released a redesigned version of their Maternal Haplogroup report. It now places customers’ own ancestral stories within the context of the broader human story.

First, 23andMe determines each customer’s maternal haplogroup by looking at the genetic markers in their mtDNA. Next, they walk each customer, step by step, through the points where their maternal line branched off from others over thousands of years. The updated Maternal Haplogroup Report lets you know if you share a maternal haplogroup with a notable individual, or groups of individuals, in history.

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