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What is the maternal haplogroup?

Haplogroups are large groups of haplotypes, sets of alleles at specific locations in an individual’s genome. They allow for the definition of genetic populations and contain information about a person’s past, as changes in these regions very rarely reverse and subsequent changes accumulate.

The maternal haplogroup is also called the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup. In humans, mitochondria are inherited from the mother, so all of a person’s mitochondrial DNA comes from their maternal line. This allows the ancestry from the mother’s side to be traced, following the path that part of the family took without confusing it with the paternal side.

All human mitochondrial DNA would come from the so-called “Mitochondrial Eve,” a common female ancestor of all living humans, who is thought to have existed about 200,000 years ago. The oldest current haplogroup would be L0, which arose about 150,000 years ago.