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What’s your number?

So… did you test with National Geographic’s Geno 2.0 project?

If so, the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG) — and The Legal Genealogist — and the entire genetic genealogy community — we all have a question for you:

What’s your number?

Geno20hapTurns out that within the past few days, the Genographic Project has started reporting the percentage of participants within the Geno 2.0 project database with particular paternal and maternal haplogroups.

Now a haplogroup is “a genetic population group of people who share a common ancestor on the patrilineal or matrilineal line. Haplogroups are assigned letters of the alphabet, and refinements consist of additional number and letter combinations.”1

And haplogroups come in two flavors: YDNA — from the Y chromosome that only men have and that is passed down from father to son to son largely unchanged through the generations2 — and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) — the kind we all receive from our mothers but that only women pass on to their children, again largely unchanged through the generations.3

So all of us who’ve tested with the Geno 2.0 project have an mtDNA haplogroup reported, from the mtDNA we received from our mothers, and “(u)nderstanding the evolutionary path of the female lineage has helped population geneticists trace the matrilineal inheritance of modern humans back to human origins in Africa and the subsequent spread across the globe.”4

And any man who’s tested will also have a YDNA haplogroup reported — and as more and more of the Y chromosome is mapped and differences detected, we can hope for a deeper understanding of the male inheritance of modern humans as well.

And that’s part of where this number bit comes in.

Knowing the frequency with which certain haplogroups appear, and where they appear, can help population geneticists develop and test theories about human migration over time. This is one of a series of efforts made be genetic genealogists to gather information about how common haplogroups are and how they’re distributed worldwide. Some nine years ago, for example, Dr. J. Douglas McDonald, a professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign produced maps of the distributions of YDNA and mtDNA haplogroups around the world. The copyrighted maps can be found online here.

And as genealogists, we’d like to know more about how frequently a particular haplogroup appears, to help us understand the significance of a match or a mismatch within, say, the H3 mtDNA haplogroup (1.6%) or the R-L21 YDNA haplogroup (4.8%) as compared to one in, say, the V3b mtDNA haplogroup (less than 0.1%) or the R-V88 YDNA haplogroup (0.1%).

Right now, the percentages are being reported individually, on the dashboard for the results of each person who has tested. And as genetic genealogists, we’d like to know the big picture: what are the percentages for all the haplogroups?

So ISOGG under an initiative by Dr. Tim Janzen is in the process of collecting the individual information about each reported haplogroup, and collecting it in Excel spreadsheet form for everyone’s use. The links to the spreadsheets are on the ISOGG Haplogroup wiki page under the link titles Geno 2.0 Y haplogroup percentages from the Genographic Project and Geno 2.0 mtDNA haplogroup percentages from the Genographic Project.

So… have you tested with Geno 2.0? If you have, ISOGG would love to know your number. Here are the steps:

1. Log in to your Genographic 2.0 results.
2. Click on the link at the top for Dashboard.
3. Scroll down to your Deep Ancestry results. Record your haplogroup name and the percentage.
4. Take a look at the ISOGG spreadsheet(s). Is your haplogroup reported?

a. If so, terrific! You’re done.

b. If not, report it! Let ISOGG know. You can post your number on the ISOGG Yahoo group list in the thread started by Tim Janzen if you’re an ISOGG member. If you’re not an ISOGG member, feel free to post your results in the comments to this blog post or, for email subscribers, just hit reply and email them. I’ll collect them and send them along.

You’ll be helping us all know more.

And besides, “Hi, I’m H3 1.6%, what’s your number?” beats the heck out of “Hi, I’m Pisces, what’s your sign?”, doesn’t it?


  1. ISOGG Wiki (, “Haplogroup,” rev. 5 July 2014.
  2. ISOGG Wiki (, “Y chromosome DNA tests,” rev. 5 Mar 2014.
  3. ISOGG Wiki (, “Mitochondrial DNA tests,” rev. 30 Mar 2014.
  4. ISOGG Wiki (, “Mitochondrial DNA haplogroup,” rev. 4 Mar 2014.
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