Mitochondrial DNA provides us with a unique periscope back in time to view our most distant ancestors, and the path that they took through time and place to become us, here, today. Because mitochondrial DNA is passed from generation to generation through an all-female line, un-admixed with the DNA from the father, the mitochondrial DNA we carry today is essentially the same as that carried by our ancestors hundreds or even thousands of years ago, with the exception of an occasional mutation.
You can see in the pedigree chart above that the red mitochondrial DNA is passed directly down the matrilineal line. Women contribute their mitochondrial DNA to all of their children, of both genders, but only the females pass it on.
Because this DNA is preserved in descendants, relatively unchanged, for thousands of years, we can equate haplogroups, or clans, to specific regions of the world where that particular…
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