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Maternal lineage testing is a DNA test designed to tell you about your ancient maternal roots. The test is done by testing what is called Mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA) – a type of DNA we inherit only from our mothers. All male and female children inherit their MtDNA from their mother, but it is only females who can pass it on. Maternal lineage testing can be done with both males and females.

Human migration and MtDNA testing

Humans migrated all over the globe out of Africa thousands of years ago, populating small geographical areas with varying climates and conditions. Each group’s DNA adapted so as to be able to survive in those conditions. These alterations in DNA in these specific groups became specific and unique to that group. These groups are referred to as haplogroups. Haplogroups share common genetic features.

MtDNA testing is a reliable way of testing maternal lineage. This type of DNA is not only passed down the female line but moreover, it has a very low mutation rate. Analysts seek to isolate portions of DNA known as hypervariable regions with two main hypervariable regions being the focus of analysis- Hypervariable region 1 and Hypervariable region 2. Two females wishing to know if they have a common maternal line can do an MtDNA test. An MtDNA test and a maternal lineage test are similar but not quite the same in scope. MtDNA tests are usually done between siblings. Maternal lineage testing presents you with information about your ancient maternal history.