mitoYDNA: New Website for Sharing mtDNA and YDNA

A new website, mitoYDNA.org, promises free, crowdsourced DNA matching for YDNA and mtDNA tests, with options for research and law enforcement participation.

 
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A new website has launched for free sharing of Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA data, with DNA matching, analysis and tools to help users further their genealogical research. It’s called mitoYDNA, and it’s promising to remain free, crowd-sourced and accessible to all. Here’s what it’s all about and how to participate.

mitoYDNA aims to replace the former Ysearch and Mitosearch public databases, which allowed people who tested with older, outdated companies have a place to share their YDNA and mtDNA data, respectively—including with those who have more updated test results from the only company now selling these tests, Family Tree DNA. (The mitoYDNA website does not accept autosomal DNA data.)

I checked in yesterday, only two days after the site launched, and there were already about 800 kit uploads, split pretty evenly between YDNA and mtDNA.

How to Use mitoYDNA

Currently, the site accepts YDNA and mtDNA uploads from Ancestry (which used to sell those tests), Family Tree DNA and YSEQ. The site’s Frequently Asked Questions link to instructions for uploading your data from each of these sources.

Basically, to have the site automatically pull your YDNA or mtDNA data from Family Tree DNA (FTDNA), you can download a plug-in from Chrome. It adds a button to your FTDNA account that lets them grab your data and save it to your computer:

 
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Then in the kit creation form at mitoYDNA, shown here, you choose that file from your computer to upload.

 
 

Note that you can choose to be a part of research (which they haven't really defined yet) or opt-in to law enforcement searching. Read more about opting-in for enforcement matching and why that option matters (and what the heck, here’s another article comparing all the major testing companies’ current policies on that).

The mitoYDNA website offers these tools:

  • Lookup: Find YDNA or mtDNA information for a kit number;

  • Compare: Compare the small HVR1 and HVR2 regions (so not the full sequence test) for up to 24 mtDNA kits (23 to the 1st kit).

    For YDNA, that means comparing genetic distance, haplogroup (your deep ancestral group) and markers (with differences highlighted).

  • Matching: Find kits that match your kit, with the parameters you provide. For YDNA you can choose how many differences from your match you want to see (called genetic differences) and choose on how many tested markers (YDNA locations). For mtDNA you can choose how many differences you will allow between your kit and others and on which regions (HVR1 or HVR2 or HVR1+HVR2) you want them to look. Here’s what the screen looks like:

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A little more about mitoYDNA

mitoYDNA is run by a nonprofit group comprised “of collaborative genetic genealogists who believe genealogists can have access to a YDNA and mtDNA database which includes Y and mtDNA testing from all available companies today and those of the future. mitoYDNA Ltd. is based on the principles [of] genealogical collaboration and continues to work to keep mitoYDNA straightforward, current [and] expanding.”

By the way, I have talked with two of their leaders, Mags Gaulden and Rob Warthen, about hopefully making this the home for all of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation mtDNA and YDNA data.

 

Not sure whether sharing your YDNA or mtDNA data will help you answer your own genetic genealogy questions? (Or whether it’s time to take a YDNA or mtDNA test?) First, make sure you’ve GOT specific questions. Formulate a testing plan that includes the right testing steps for answering those questions. And then, if you need help, contact Your DNA Guide for personal mentoring. We can help you take the next right steps for your DNA questions.