March Madness with mtDNA

Limited time mtDNA sale

No, it isn’t Sunday.

Really, it’s not.

And, yes, The Legal Genealogist usually only writes about DNA on Sundays.

But there have to be exceptions in exceptional cases.

mtDNA.saleSuch as when there’s a huge sale that starts today and is only going to last through Tuesday, 11:59 PM CDT April 1, 2014. (That’s 10:59 p.m. MDT, 9:59 p.m. PDT, and for East Coasters, 12:59 a.m. EDT April 2nd.)

It’s the March Madness sale at Family Tree DNA with a huge price cut for one particular DNA test, the mitochondrial (mtDNA) full sequence test.

Now this is a test that looks at a particular type of DNA that everyone has, passed to us from our mothers. Because of the way it’s inherited, all of a mother’s children will have the same mtDNA, but only her daughters will pass it on to their children. So it gives us a look at our maternal line: our mother’s mother’s mother’s line and on back through the generations.1

It’s a type of DNA that changes very very little over the generations. Scientists think there may be only one very small change — called a mutation, but not in a bad way — in hundreds, even thousands of years. And because it travels down the female line, and we all fight our way through all those surname changes, well… there’s a reason why it’s sometimes considered the redheaded foster stepchild of DNA testing.2

But it’s also an extremely powerful form of testing when it’s targeted at specific research questions. I’ve written more than once — just this past Sunday even! — about needing it to try to find out who the mother of my third great grandmother Margaret (Battles) Shew was.3 And about using it to check a claim that one of my ancestors was Native American. (She was not.)4

It can help answer questions like the one a reader asked about how many wives a second great grandfather had, by testing direct female descendants of the oldest — and youngest — known daughters.5

And it can help validate a theory on whose bones were buried beneath a car park in Leicester, England, putting to rest (pun intended) the question of the final burial place of England’s King Richard III. 6

And for the next five days — today through April 1 — the most complete, most powerful test of your mtDNA is on sale. The reduced prices for those who’ve done no mtDNA testing or who’ve done less complete tests to upgrade to the full mitochondrial sequence during this sale are:

• mtDNAFullSequence Add-on and New Kits – Was $199 US Now $139 US

• mtHVR1toMEGA Upgrade – Was $149 US Now $99 US

• mtHVR2toMEGA Upgrade – Was $159 US Now $89 US

And I couldn’t agree more with Family Tree DNA’s statement of the three key reasons to do this:

• Unlock the full potential of mtDNA testing.

• Enjoy the definitive test for your direct maternal line.

• Compare to others at the highest mtDNA testing level.

You can get more info on this testing here at Family Tree DNA

And remember … if you’re a direct line female descendant of Ann (Jacobs) Battles of Cherokee County, Alabama, or Kiziah (Wright) Battles of Blount County, Alabama, or Nancy (Wright) Battles of St. Clair County, Alabama, I have a test kit waiting for you at my expense…


SOURCES

  1. See ISOGG Wiki (http://www.isogg.org/wiki), “Mitochondrial DNA tests,” rev. 5 Mar 2014.
  2. Judy G. Russell, “Picking your Battles,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 23 Mar 2014 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 27 Mar 2014).
  3. Ibid. Also, Judy G. Russell, “Looking for an Alabama relative,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 1 July 2012 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 27 Mar 2014).
  4. Judy G. Russell, “Oh, mama… a use for mtDNA,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 12 Feb 2012 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 27 Mar 2014).
  5. Judy G. Russell, “DNA and the question of how many wives,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 8 July 2012 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 27 Mar 2014).
  6. Judy G. Russell, “Rewriting history through DNA,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 3 Feb 2013 and “And the answer is…,” posted 4 Feb 2013 (http://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : accessed 27 Mar 2014).
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5 Responses to March Madness with mtDNA

  1. Carolyn Lea says:

    When you posted on Sunday I wrote I was waiting for the summer sale and trying to find evidence by then. No more waiting – I am ordering and will start calling descendants to see if one will take the test! What a GREAT deal.

  2. Judy, I’m such a DNA newbie but this is tempting because I have a complete mystery in this line; my gg-grandmother in the direct female line was supposedly adopted; I THINK I know her real father but know nothing about the mother. My gg-grandmother has exactly nine descendants in my generation (a very small family) and none of them are doing DNA testing (I wish!) so any results would have to be from the mysterious mother’s kin. Those people are probably Scottish, but just knowing that would help me.

    Here’s my question: Does it matter if it’s me or my mother that takes the test? It would help a lot if I could just do it. thanks!!

    • CeCe Moore says:

      Hi Diane,
      Since Judy hasn’t had a chance to answer yet, I will take the liberty of doing so. Your research question is a good example of exactly the type of situation where mtDNA testing *might* be helpful. I think it is worth a shot.

      It doesn’t matter if it is you or your mother who takes the test since you inherited your mtDNA intact from your mother (with the rare exception of a new mutation), but since FTDNA stores DNA samples for 25 years, I would suggest testing her. I always recommend testing the older/oldest living generations at FTDNA for that reason. So, this will “kill two birds with one stone” so to speak.

      Best of luck!

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