mtDNA for Family History

Anyone—male or female—can take an mtDNA test for family history. Mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, is a very unique piece of DNA. It is a circle of DNA that is not found in the center of the cell with the 46 chromosomes. Instead the mtDNA is found inside the mitochondria or powerhouse of the cell. mtDNA is also unique because you only get one copy from your mother, who got it from her mother, who got it from her mother, who got it from her mother… you get the idea.


Only FamilyTreeDNA* sells mtDNA tests for genealogy. The mtDNA test gives you haplogroup information and migration paths for your maternal ancestral line. You also get a list of genetic matches, which may be useful for genealogical purposes.

Get started with this quick video tutorial by Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard:

Expert guidance for mtDNA testing

mtDNA testing is expensive and has limited application for genealogy, but when used appropriately, it can be worth it. Which is the next best step for you?