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mtDNA Matches Frequently Asked Questions

Are all of my mtDNA matches in the database shown?

All of your mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) matches who have signed a release form and have opted in to database matching are shown on the mtDNA - Matches page. However, those who have not signed a release form or have opted out of database matching are not shown.

On the mtDNA - Matches page, are only exact matches shown?

There are currently two sets of rules for mtDNA matching.

  • For those who have tested HVR1 (mtDNA) or HVR1 and HVR2 (mtDNAPlus), only exact matches are shown. SmartMatching is also used to prevent a match between different haplogroups.
  • For those who have tested the mtDNA Full Sequence (mtFullSequence), three differences are allowed. These differences include cases of heteroplasmy. Two high-frequency insertion/deletion locations are completely excluded from difference counts. These are mutations at positions 309 and 315.

What do the blue icons with pedigree lines indicate?

On the mtDNA - Matches page, the blue icons with the pedigree lines indicate that a match has uploaded their genealogy information as a GEDCOM file. You may view their information by clicking on the icon.

What is HVR1? 

HVR1 is one of the two mtDNA hypervariable regions used in genealogical DNA testing. HVR1 is considered a low-resolution region, and the corresponding testing locations are numbered 16001-16569. 

Matching on HVR1 means that you have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 52 generations or about 1,300 years.*

*FamilyTreeDNA's discontinued mtDNA test examined only the HVR1 level. 

What is HVR2? 

HVR2 is one of the two mtDNA hypervariable regions used in genealogical DNA testing. HVR2 is considered a high-resolution region, and the corresponding testing locations are numbered 001-574. 

Matching on HVR1 and HVR2 means that you have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 28 generations or about 700 years.*

*FamilyTreeDNA's discontinued mtDNAPlus test examined the HVR1 and HVR2 levels. 

What is FMS? 

FMS stands for FamilyTreeDNA's mtFull Sequence test. The mitochondrial DNA Full Sequence test examines all locations in the HVR1, HVR2, and Coding Region.

Matching exactly on the Mitochondrial DNA Full Sequence (FMS) test brings your matches into more recent times. It means that you have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 5-16 generations or about 125-400 years.

What do the (HVR2) and (FMS) next to matches' names indicate?

On the mtDNA - Matches page, the (HVR2) and (FMS) next to your matches' names indicates that they have tested at a higher level (see table below). These are the shorthand designations, the testing level (product), and the actual matching level for each mtDNA test:

Matching on HVR1 means that you have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 52 generations or about 1,300 years.

Matching on HVR1 and HVR2 means that you have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 28 generations or about 700 years.

Matching exactly on the Mitochondrial DNA Full Sequence (FMS) test brings your matches into more recent times. It means that you have a 50% chance of sharing a common maternal ancestor within the last 5-16 generations or about 125-400 years.

Short Hand Testing Level Matching Level
HVR1 mtDNA HVR1
HVR2 mtDNAPlus HVR1 & HVR2
FMS mtFullSequence HVR1, HVR2, & Coding Region

What is the mtDNA Coding Region? 

The Coding Region is the part of your mtDNA genome that contains genes. Because it does contain some genes, the Coding Region is believed to be slower mutating than the Control Region. Often, the mutations that are found in the Coding Region are used to define haplogroups.

What is SmartMatching?  

SmartMatching is a tool that is used to limit your mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) matches and the information about your matches' historic and anthropological migrations to those that are relevant.

Some mtDNA sequences may look the same in the HVR1 and HVR2 regions yet belong to different haplogroups. These sequences are unrelated in recent or even more distant times. Therefore, we do not show them on your mtDNA - Matches, mtDNA - Ancestral Origins, and mtDNA - Haplogroup Origins pages.

Note: Some individuals have taken more extensive haplogroup tests or have tested their mtDNA full genomic sequences to provide them with a more specific haplogroup. In these cases, we still display the name, email, and origin information for those with haplogroup assignments that may be related.

 

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