Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-06 > 1120057650

From: "David Wilson" <>
Subject: RE: [DNA] mtDNA results - Helena
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 08:07:30 -0700
In-Reply-To: <>

I side with Doug on this one.

It may be true that close in mtDNA doesn't count when you're doing
genealogy, but it's also true that exact doesn't always do that much for you
either. I have long thought that one of the primary powers of mtDNA is
disproof -- demonstrating that two individuals thought to have had the same
matrilineal ancestor actually didn't, or demonstrating that the 7G
grandmother alleged to be a Cherokee Princess actually had matrilineal roots
in Europe. Finding exact mtDNA matches without associated paper trails may
be interesting, but it is not always useful from a genealogical perspective.

But I take it on faith that mtDNA is ALWAYS useful for population studies. I
want the ability to search HVR2 because I tend to be a roll-your-own kind of
guy who would rather tease patterns out of the data himself rather than have
someone just tell me, "That's haplogroup Z." I confirm Doug's observation
that FTDNA is not presently interested in adding this ability to mitosearch.
It seems to be a matter of economics. Bennett told me in an email --
summarizing/interpreting here, not quoting -- that the cost of programming
the new search capacity into the website was not felt to be worth the
limited value it would add. I would say that Bennett is actually resistant
to the idea, not just nonresponsive.

I don't agree that an mtDNA mutation necessarily means a mutation was
thousands of years back. I feel fairly confident asserting there were mtDNA
mutations occurring yesterday, or even this morning. Just a few days ago on
the list we had a comparison question involving a rare mutation that looked
very much like a recent mutation within a subhaplogroup to which two
individuals belonged. An exact-match query never would have called them to
each other's attention, but under the circumstances they may actually have
had something to explore.

As a workaround for the limited searchability of mitosearch, I created an
expanded spreadsheet for all (I think) mtDNA motifs in the data base as of
late May. In case anyone missed the earlier message, it's available for
download from

With the individual mutations separated into separate columns, it is
possible to do nested sorts by mutation to find close matches. The process
is a little cumbersome because column limitations forced me to put HVR1 and
HVR2 on two separate sheets, but it's better than nothing.

There is also a tabulation of frequencies for observed mutations in both
HVR1 and HVR2 -- raw counts, no haplogroup breakdowns. I could just post
those to the list, if anybody wants that information without having to get
the whole workbook.

David Wilson

-----Original Message-----
From: John S Walden [mailto:]
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 6:57 AM
Subject: Re: [DNA] mtDNA results - Helena

On 6/29/05, Doug McDonald <> wrote:
And they have been unresponsive to requests to make Ysearch search only
the HVR2.

Bennett ... if you are listening, we really want this!
And why do we want this?

To my thinking with mtDNA you either have and exact match or you do not.
Close in mtDNA does not make it for genealogy.
Since any one mutation, even one of those at a "hot spot", means the MRCA is
probably thousands of years back

OBTW for both my J and my K mtDNA haplotypes in my family
I am still awaiting my first HVR1+2 match
And since National Geographic does only HVR1 that will not help until
the people upgrade to HVR2

John W

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