What use is the mtDNA test for family history?
The picture on the left is actually a chart of the genes that are found in mtDNA. They have been carefully mapped and can be compared between different women. The rate of change over time in these genes is low - making it easy to work out if a person is descended from the same maternal ancestor as another person, and how far back their common ancestor lived.
Taken further, this technique can show how we are all related to the daughters of Eve, a group of 37 women who are the maternal ancestors of everyone alive today.
For your own family history, mtDNA testing, like other DNA tests, cannot reveal your entire family tree. Your results can be fed into databases, that are growing all the time, and you may be able to contact some closely related people. Otherwise, it can tell you if you and someone else who takes the test are closely related.
Overall, however, the mtDNA test tells you more about your ethnic origins - whether you are from a European tribe, from Africa, or from North America. Find out more about the daughters of Eve.