What Powers the Body’s Powerhouses (DNA)?

What powers the body’s powerhouses?

The Weekly Gene: POLG

Who would have thought that the remnants of an ancient bacterial infection would still be affecting us today? Nearly two billion years ago, our very distant ancestors—then just tiny unicellular organisms—became infected by a bacterium. After eons of coevolution, the bacteria has morphed into what we now know as mitochondria. They’ve long since lost their independence, but they still retain vestiges of their individuality. They even have their own DNA that’s separate from the rest of your genome! In order to maintain this independent DNA, the mitochondria have to be able to replicate it and pass it on when new mitochondria are forming. To do this, they call upon the POLG gene.

Mitochondria are in nearly every cell of your body. Functionally, you can think of them like little organs inside your cells, which is why scientists classify them as organelles. They’re sometimes called the “powerhouses” of the cells, owing to their role in producing energy. Sugars and other nutrients have a lot of energy stored in their chemical bonds. Mitochondria strip metabolites of their energy and repackage it in the form of ATP and other similarly energetic molecules. ATP is then sent throughout the cell where it helps drive various important processes.

The fact that mitochondria can pump out large amounts of energy makes them a hot commodity for cell types that need a lot of energy. Cells like neurons or the muscle cells controlling your eyelids require lots of energy because they’re constantly active and burning through ATP. Aside from differences among cell types, the amount of mitochondria in a cell can vary throughout time based on environmental conditions.1,2 A good example is exercise: We know that prolonged exercise can stimulate muscle cells to produce more mitochondria that will then help them meet their future energy needs. Like your cells, mitochondria can duplicate themselves to make more in a process called mitochondrial biogenesis.1,2 For the new mitochondria to function, however, they need instructions for how to build the energy-producing machinery.1

In the mitochondrial DNA of each cell, there are approx 16,500 base pairs made from the nucleotides A, C, G, and T. Within this code are 37 genes that collectively help the mitochondria build their energy producing pipeline. But these 37 genes don’t directly help mitochondria replicate themselves—they need almost 1,500 different genes for that. These genes are found in the rest of your DNA and are responsible for exporting their protein products to the mitochondria.

One of these genes is polymerase gamma (POLG). POLG produces a protein by the same name, also called POLG, which is in a class of proteins known as polymerases. These proteins are essential for replicating DNA sequences, because they bind to the existing DNA and construct a new DNA strand based on the template strand they’re bound to. There are multiple different polymerases, but only one of them can go into mitochondria—POLG. Aside from replicating the DNA, POLG has also been shown to have error-correcting functions so that it can proofread the new template it’s making.2

POLG is critical to the process of making new mitochondria and, in turn, is critical to human health. Highlighting this point are the nearly 300 different variants in this gene that are known to cause disease. Many of these variants alter POLG’s protein structure in a way that reduces its ability to either interact with the DNA or proofread the new duplicate DNA strand, which can result in an increased mutation rate within the mitochondrial DNA and reduced mitochondrial biogenesis. On a physiological scale, this affects organs and tissues that are reliant on mitochondrial energy production such as the nervous system, eyes, muscles, kidneys, pancreas, and male reproductive organs. The penetrance and expressivity of these symptoms are wide-ranging and depend on many factors that aren’t entirely understood, but ongoing research is aiming to characterize how changes in our DNA—including the mitochondrial DNA—can lead to disease development.1,2

The mitochondria is no longer a bacteria, but it’s evolved to be an integral part of human physiology. Thanks to genes like POLG, mitochondria are able to hold onto their DNA and a small portion of their independence.


1Jornayvaz, François R., and Gerald I. Shulman. “Regulation of Mitochondrial Biogenesis.” Essays in biochemistry 47 (2010): 10.1042/bse0470069. PMC. Web. 7 May 2018.2Young, Matthew J., and William C. Copeland. “Human Mitochondrial DNA Replication Machinery and Disease.” Current opinion in genetics & development 38 (2016): 52–62. PMC. Web. 8 May 2018.


The Ancient Origins of New Zealanders

Biological anthropologist Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith is researching the genetic make-up of Kiwis.

Biological anthropologist Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith is researching the genetic make-up of Kiwis.

Aotearoa was the final destination of a very long journey that began in Africa over 65,000 years ago.  Whether you’re a red-headed country music singer in Gore or a Filipino dairy worker in Dannevirke, your ancestral homeland is Africa.

When a small band of modern humans filtered out of Africa into Europe and Asia, they encountered other human types who had arrived there hundreds of thousands of years before.  Our new breed of taller, seemingly more savvy and better equipped men and women co-existed with Neanderthals for at least 10,000 years before they died out, whether through force or happenstance.

Our common ancestor was Homo erectus.  We were not yet so different from Neanderthals that we couldn’t interbreed.  The encounters were rare and rarely productive but nevertheless, everyone today who is NOT of pure African descent carries a small percentage of Neanderthal DNA, about 2 percent – slightly more in Asian populations who seem to have had additional, later encounters. Those Neanderthal jokes about our colleagues and former boyfriends have rebounded on us.

Skeleton of the Neanderthal boy recovered from the El Sidron cave, Spain.


Skeleton of the Neanderthal boy recovered from the El Sidron cave, Spain.

This genetic legacy has given us some good and bad traits, such as stronger hair and skin, a predisposition to type 2 diabetes and Crohn’s disease, and increased risk of nicotine addiction. Apparently, Neanderthals shared our on/off faculty for appreciating the defining note of pinot noir and violets, a compound called beta ionine.  A single nucleotide difference (a basic component of DNA) distinguishes the active and inactive version of the gene.

Tracing where the first Kiwis came from
Gene analysis project goes way, way back

The first scientist to think of using differences in our DNA to trace our origins and relatedness grew up on a farm in Pukekohe.

Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith hands out DNA test kits to 50 people in Nelson after introducing the audience to the Allan ...

Martin de Ruyter

Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith hands out DNA test kits to 50 people in Nelson after introducing the audience to the Allan Wilson Centre project The Longest Journey from Africa to Aotearoa.

The late, great New Zealand scientist, Allan Wilson, who should be a household name here, spent his adult life in America, based at the University of California, Berkeley.  He died in 1991 from leukaemia, aged 56. Wilson deduced that chimpanzees and the first human species diverged from a common ancestor only 5-7 million years ago, not  about 30m as previously thought – a bit too close for comfort for some.

It caused a bitter controversy at the time, and not just among evolution deniers. Scientists are human too, and not always objectively ‘sapiens’. Reputations become nailed to old masts.

Wilson led a group of evolutionary biologists who realised that we could reconstruct human history by studying markers in our mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is inherited lock, stock and barrel from mother, and not mixed up with father’s DNA when sperm meets egg.  Every so often, a spelling mistake, known as a mutation, is made when the DNA is being copied. Once a mutation occurs, it is then passed on to all future generations.

These mtDNA mutations rarely have any effect on the person.  Wilson and his team realised that if they looked at mtDNA from people around the world, they could compare the DNA and draw a family tree, identifying when and where these mutations occurred. The different mtDNA lineages could be used to trace the movement of populations across the globe.

They calculated that all humans alive today trace their origin back to one woman – so-called Mitochondrial Eve – who lived in Africa a mere 150,000 years ago.  This doesn’t mean that she was the only woman on Earth at the time, but that all other lines have since become dead ends, literally.

The different branches of the mitochondrial family tree are labelled by letters, with each branch defined by a particular mutation or combination of mutations.

The oldest lineages are the L branches, which are found only in African populations. About 65,000 years ago, a small group of humans carrying the L3 lineage left Africa, probably through what is now Egypt. This group soon split and the mutations occurred that define the two main non-African lineages, the M and N branches. Women carrying the N lineages gave rise to all European lineages, with the most common branches found in Western Europeans today being H, U, J, T, K, V, and X. These seven Western European maternal ancestors inspired the book The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes.  He named these clan mothers Helena, Ursula, Jasmine, Tara, Katrine, Velda and Xenia.

While Helena, Ursula, Jasmine and the girls went north, some of our ancestors headed east and moved very quickly through southern Asia, towards the Pacific. They could walk through what is now Island Southeast Asia when ice ages locked up massive volumes of water and sea levels fell.  Recent research suggests that they arrived in Australia and New Guinea, which were joined in a super-continent called Sahul, as early as 60-65,000 years ago.  Aboriginal Australians and Papuans have been geographically and genetically isolated for a very long time.

It was a one-way journey for them. These people carried mtDNA lineages belonging to the M branch, as well as some N lineages.

On those early forays into Asia, it seems we also interbred with another group of long-separate Homo erectus descendants called Denisovans, after the cave in Siberia where the relics of these people were miraculously discovered – part of the finger-bone of a small girl and a few teeth – amidst tonnes of rock and dirt.  These treasured remains were so well preserved that scientists were able to sequence the entire genome (the complete set of an organism’s DNA).  Those first modern humans who travelled through Asia clearly ran into Denisovans on the way. Their descendants today, including Aboriginal Australians and many Pacific people, carry up to 5 per cent Denisovan DNA.  Interestingly, this inheritance confers an ability to thrive at high altitudes and is present in the Sherpa people.

Allan Wilson’s work has inspired a generation of evolutionary biologists, including a group of outstanding researchers at the University Otago.  Leader of the allanwilson@otago research group is Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith, a biological anthropologist who also uses DNA as her archaeological pick-axe. She is fine-tuning what we know about the populations of the Pacific, and Aotearoa in particular.  She recently randomly sampled the DNA of over 2000 New Zealanders to analyse our ancient maternal and paternal lines.

Lisa is currently writing up the results and the stories of some of her New Zealand subjects in a book she plans to publish in 2019, when we will be commemorating the first Maori and European landings here.  But she can tell you the punch line now. We are as diverse a population as you’ll find anywhere. Kiwis carry all of the major mitochondrial DNA diversity seen in the world – lineages A to Z.

The history of human evolution and migration is one of the fastest moving areas of science. New findings, such as fossils of the diminutive Homo floresiensis (the hobbit people), are coming thick and fast and adding intriguing sub-plots to the main storyline.

We have an insatiable desire to know about our past.  Genealogy is big business. But while DNA is hard evidence of our origins, relatedness, and some of the routes taken by our ancestors, it is only part of the story and actually reveals very little about who we are. New Zealanders are not defined by their DNA or bound in spirit by genetic similarity.

What we do share in common are the long journeys we and our forebears risked to come here, whether by waka, sailing ship or 777, to escape depression and social immobility in Britain, Pol Pot’s genocide, wars in Europe and the Middle East, or in search of adventure and a better life.

Our ancestors, all six thousand generations since Mitochondrial Eve, were survivors and we are their testament.

Next week:  Who were the first New Zealanders?  How many were there, and where did they come from?

Information and research provided by Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith FRSNZ, University of Otago




Resource: access 1/2018

1 | Cell
2 | Nucleus
3 | Golgi Body
4 | Mitochondrion
5 | Lysosome
6 | Centriole
7 | Ribosome
8 | Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum
9 | Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum
10 | Cytoplasm
11 | Nucleopore
12 | Chromosome
13 | Gene
14 | DNA
15 | Base Pair
Read this! |

What I Learn About My Ancient Ancestry (Geno 2 Project)

Here is what I learned about my ancient ancestry:


Neanderthal Man



Modern Man

As humans were first migrating out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago, Neanderthals were still living in Eurasia. It seems our ancestors hit it off, leaving a small trace of these ancient relatives in my DNA.


  • 79% Western Africa

  • 5% Northwestern Europe

  • 4% Eastern Africa

  • 4% West Mediterranean

  • 3% Northeastern Europe

  • 3% Eastern Europe



My maternal ancestors spread from east-central Africa to northwestern Africa at a time when the climate and landscape were more hospitable. They settled from the central-West African coast to North Africa. In the north, my cousins are now part of populations such as the Berber peoples. The Berbers are traditionally livestock herders. Toward west-central Africa, I have cousins among traditional farming groups.

My maternal branch is L2a1a2

Maternal Map


My paternal ancestors spread from Central Africa to West Africa. My cousins include the Bantu-speaking people. The Bantu had an advanced farming culture, and were the first people in sub-Saharan Africa to work iron. Later expansions to the east and south introduced agriculture across Africa and spread the Bantu languages throughout the continent.

My paternal branch is E-U186

Paternal Map

That’s my story. What’s your story?

Who are your ancestors, Can you identify your relatives?

We are all over this world in many countries, with differences, shades of color, opinions, thoughts. Make no mistake we are one, our ancestors came out of Africa. It’s in your DNA. I have found relatives in Brazil, India, Iran, Syria, Australia, Mexico, Boro Bora, Korea, China, and Japan. Never stop your journey finding your past. Gedmatch is a good place to start.

DNA collection, testing, and results are different for people of color and the algorithms used are not geared towards our DNA but can be very useful.  It is Eurocentric, however, Helix, National Geo2, and 23andMe are moving towards a more inclusive model. Also, there are new projects in many countries to match DNA for people around the world.




African Royal DNA Project

How to Check for African Royal DNA Project Matches

October 11, 2017

Note: Any problems understanding to procedures or questions please directed to me or

*Great website with a ton of information, highly recommended.


AdaEze Naja Chinyere Njoku

Here’s a workable solution to help you check to see if you match any African Royal DNA Project Kits.  Because there are so many of you, we cannot compare your DNA for you all. This is the quickest way to check for yourself to see if you match any of the kits we manage. You MUST follow these steps prior to contacting us about the potential DNA match.  This also helps YOU to learn how too use the FREE tools.  



  • Register at this link if you have not done so. If you register and get a notice that the email you are using already exists, simply log into the link with your log in credentials. (Please read the website first before making a decision to upload your DNA Raw data)

  • Upload your DNA Raw Data. It may take a day or 2 for your matches to populate.

  • If any African Royal appears on your match list, you MUST complete the one to one comparison. The CMs must be at least 7 and the SNPs must be at least 700 to be a CONFIRMED match.  Click on your Genesis kit #. You will see a list of matches. You are almost there! 

  • If you do not see them on your list, you are not a match. Their names are distinctive and includes ethnic group(s) and they will include their ethnic groups(s).

  •  If you see any of the Royals’ names there, click on the letter “A” beside their name . This will allow you to do a one to one comparison.


The one to one comparison will show the chromosomes that you match on .

The above image shows 4 rows of matching for Chromosome 1.  The Centimorgans (CMs) on 1 row MUST be at least 7 and the the SNPs must be 700.  You cannot add up all of them to meet this requirement

The image below shows on row 1 that this match has 47.2 CMs and 6,993 SNPs.  That means they are a legitimate match.


  • If the above requirements are met, copy the chromosome details that you match on and draft an email to . Paste the info in the email .  


  • We will then provide you with contact Info for your DNA match if they provided it to us. 

See our DNA Tested African Descendants group guidelines 

Strictly Roots!! 

New GEDmatch Genesis Beta



GEDmatch Genesis

GEDmatch Genesis is a peek at things to come for GEDmatch. It provides two things:

    • Ability to accept uploads from testing companies with formats and SNP sets not compatible with the current main GEDmatch database.
  • A new comparison algorithm that we believe will provide better accuracy, and more flexibility. More info: The Genesis Algorithm

During this initial deployment, the GEDmatch Genesis database will be separate from the main GEDmatch database, and comparisons for one will not show entries made in the other. Eventually, the 2 databases will be merged, and results will include entries from both. Likewise, the benefits of the Genesis comparison algorithm will eventually become available to all GEDmatch users.

The initial offering of Genesis applications will be limited to autosomal DNA matches. That too will be expanded as we move forward in our effort to convert existing GEDmatch software to the new algorithm.

We hope you find this transition to GEDmatch Genesis useful.




The Genesis Algorithm

For several years, GEDmatch has provided genetic genealogists, both beginners and experts, the ability to search for matches among kits in their database without regard to vendor. Also, GEDmatch has provided a rich suite of analysis programs allowing users to dig deeply into the genetic details of their matches, enhance the reports from their vendors, and even pursue their own original research ideas. Our algorithms are evolving to extract the most trustworthy and meaningful matching information possible using the markers common to pairs of kits even though sometimes limited.

Unfortunately, all too often, kits appear to share a DNA segment purely by chance. To combat this confusing phenomenon, we recently have developed a reliability measure that allows users to assess the quality of a matching segment in an intuitively appealing fashion. We also use the measure to guide our matching algorithms as they wring the greatest amount of useful information possible from the markers common to pairs of kits.

If we could assume that marker characteristics were uniform in all regions within chromosomes, we could use a “one size fits all” requirement for matching segments as is sometimes done. Unfortunately, the relevant characteristics vary widely. Some long segments with few markers may be accidental matches. Some marker rich short segments are often discarded although they are profoundly non-random.

Using the characteristics of each and every marker in a segment, we compute the expected number of purely chance matches to it to be found in the database. That number is then used to classify the segment into one of several levels reflecting the likelihood that the random matches may overwhelm the real ones. When a user executes a one-to-many search or a one-to-one comparison specifying a minimum segment length, the display can then include an estimate of validity for each segment found.

One can assume those segments designated to be valid are the result of a DNA inheritance process rather than mere chance. Questions may still remain about how far back shared DNA originates, but a confounding factor has been removed.



DNA Test Options, Indigenous African Results and More

DNA Test Options, Indigenous African Results and More for further information. is not a testing company and does not suggest any of the companies listed in this article. We offer a connection to purchase DNA kits, but it is your decision based on what you want to test for ancestry. The top three testing companies based on company reputation, services offered, testing methods, software grade, research and scientific evidence, CLIA and FDA compliance (US based) customer reviews, price, customer service and return policy.

#1. CRI Genetics (Cellular Research Institute)

#2. Family Tree DNA

#3 Living DNA Your Ancestry

for further reading go to


DNA Test can be done at 12, 25, 37, 67 or 111 markers. I recommend the 67-marker test, it gives you the best results for your money.

For more information or questions contact: or

August 28, 2017

African Greetings Family!

   We hope you are all doing well.  Let’s start with a video of brother Saad Tafida.  He is an Indigenous African that tested to learn about his ancestry and to find his family in the Diaspora.  He is Fulani.  (He will tell you more about that on the video so we don’t want to spoil it).

   As it turns out, he is my eldest daughter’s DNA match.  She is able to watch these videos and learn more about a line of her culture and for that, we thank Saad tremendously!  We need more like him to share and explore with us.

Here are his results

He then downloaded his DNA raw data from the website that he tested with.  Then he uploaded to He speaks about that in his video.  He found more relatives that NEVER knew their ancestry.

 He uploaded the DNA Raw data to a few websites to find more family.  Click here to see how to do it.

BE ENCOURAGED!!  More Indigenous Africans are testing and are looking for us as well too!!  

Now, here is some info on the current sale prices for a few major DNA testing companies.  You can click on each image to go to the website.  So now, let’s talk about the tests.

My Heritage DNA Test Kit $69.00






Everyone has asked, how do I get started on my DNA testing journey. This is a great place to start. Save this note because it is very useful to return to in the future.. Please read below.

We are NOT a DNA testing company. We do NOT sell DNA tests or profit from the sales of any tests. You must purchase the DNA test on your own. We simply explain what is available for YOU to research and determine what works for you. The information is provided by those of us that have DNA tested with EACH of the companies listed below.

We are a community of Volunteers focused on the ACRO concept. ACRO means African Culture and Reconciliation Organization. We coordinate cultural reception and integration via language classes, naming ceremonies and other enriching events after you have received your results.

We facilitate reconciliation of the DNA Tested African Diaspora and their African ethnic groups of ancestry. We provide you with 3rd party tools for YOU to research so you can determine which DNA Testing company and /or 3rd party tools for family tree building are most useful to you. We provide helpful templates for initial communications with your DNA matches as well as methods on how to get the most out of your test results.


Here is a good starting point to Research your AtDNA, MtDNA and the male YDNA. Please see the chart below.

Green is the autosomal DNA that can be tested by Ancestry, FTDNA Myheritage, and 23andme (they also provide DNA matches)

Blue is the YDNA that can be tested by FTDNA’s YDNA test (they provide DNA matches) and African Ancestry (they do NOT provide DNA matches)

Red is the MtDNA that can be tested by FTDNA’s Mt DNA test (they provide DNA matches) and African Ancestry (they do NOT provide DNA matches)

23andMe DBA Test Kit

“The information … meant to provide a very simple explanation of your Y-DNA and MtDNA Ancestry used for genealogical purposes. Scientists estimate that the total amount of Y-DNA of a man is less than 1% and the total amount of MtDNA in either a man or a woman is less than 1%. It is important to understand that after taking a Y-DNA and an MtDNA test, the majority of everyone’s DNA remains untested and it is called Autosomal DNA, with another 5% of a female’s DNA or 2 1/2% of a male’s DNA being x-chromosomal DNA. In a man this would mean roughly 95.5% of his DNA is Autosomal and in a woman that figure would be roughly 94%. “

Click here or copy and paste ~~ >… ~~


UPDATE: We have been advised that African Ancestry does not do the Admix test anymore. Please check with their website to confirm.

Subscribe at

1. $79 Autosomal test ( saliva ) that analyses DNA from all of the contributors of your DNA. Both males and females can take this test. They test 700,000 markers !! Your DNA is tested 40 times and they provide you with percentages of your ancestry and a list of DNA matches that you can contact. You can research with those DNA matches to determine if they match on your mother’s side or your father’s side of the family. The DNA kit is mailed to you, you provide a small sample of saliva and follow the instructions to activate the kit. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks to receive a email from ancestry notifying you that your results are in. Sign into your ancestry account and explore your results.

You can download your DNA raw data from ancestry and upload it to ( ) for FREE to find more DNA matches. This is a website that allows us that have tested at,,, and , to upload there to find more family. And yes! It is FREE.

You can also upload your DNA raw data to for FREE.

Limitations of Ancestry: This test will not tell you the African ethnic groups that you share ancestry with. However, you may find African DNA matches that can tell you their ethnic group(s) and where they come from. Also when you upload to Gedmatch, you may find African matches that have also uploaded there. Results of an African American




2. $99 Autosomal test ( saliva ) that analyses DNA from all of the contributors of your DNA. Both males and females can take this test. They provide you with percentages of your ancestry and a list of DNA matches that you can contact. You can research with those DNA matches to determine if they match on your mother’s side or your father’s side of the family. The DNA kit is mailed to you, you provide a small sample of saliva and follow the instructions to activate the kit. Check with 23andme to determine the current wait time for their test results. Once you receive the email that your results are in, sign into your 23andme account and explore your results.

Advantage:  Over 4 million people around the world have DNA tested.  If you match them, you will see them in your DNA match list when you sign into your account.  You can download your DNA raw data from 23andme and upload it to ( ) for FREE to find more DNA matches. This is a website that allows us that have tested at,,, and , to upload there to find more family. And yes! It is FREE.

You can also upload your DNA raw data to for FREE.

Limitations of 23andme: This test will not tell you the African ethnic groups that you share ancestry with. However, you may find African DNA matches that can tell you their ethnic group(s) and where they come from. Also when you upload to Gedmatch, you may find African matches that have also uploaded there.

YOU research, YOU decide Results



3. Starting at $79 for the family finder test.   ( cheek swab ) **If you already DNA tested at or , please go to FTDNA and upload your DNA raw data from those sites to this one for FREE. It will SAVE you the cost of $99. FTDNA’s Autosomal DNA test is $99. (Keep in mine that your autosomal DNA is 50 % from your father and 50% from your mother) 

They also have Mtdna tests for your Direct maternal line and YDNA tests for your direct paternal line. Only males can take the YDNA test. See the website for prices on their MtDNA and YDNA tests.

Regarding their Autosomal DNA test, they provide you with percentages of your ancestry and a list of DNA matches that you can contact. You can research with those DNA matches to determine if they match on your mother’s side or your father’s side of the family. The DNA kit is mailed to you, you provide a small sample of saliva and follow the instructions to activate the kit. Check with FTDNA to determine the current wait time for their test results. Once you receive the email that your results are in, sign into your FTDNA account and explore your results. You can download your DNA raw data from FTDNA and upload it to ( ) for FREE to find more DNA matches. You can download your DNA raw data from FTDNA and upload it to ( ) for FREE to find more DNA matches. This is a website that allows us that have tested at, ,,, and , to upload there to find more family. And yes! It is FREE.

Limitations for FTDNA: Their African database is LOW so you may not have very many matches. If you have a higher percentage of NON- African DNA, you may have a lot of DNA matches. Results


4.  Visit to see if their company is for you. Starting at $89 (often times on sale  for around $69) . Their AtDNA (autosomal) is a (cheek swab) test.  The Autosomal DNA test, provides you with percentages of your ancestry and a list of DNA matches (actual relatives)  that you can contact. You can research with those DNA matches to determine if they match on your mother’s side or your father’s side of the family. The DNA kit is mailed to you, you provide a small sample of saliva and follow the instructions to activate the kit. (Keep in mine that your autosomal DNA is 50 % from your father and 50% from your mother) 

Advantage:  This website accepts DNA raw data from , and  So if you already tested with these other companies, you only need to upload the data.  If you test with this company, you can download your DNA raw data from MyHeritage and upload it to ( ) for FREE to find more DNA matches. This is a website that allows us that have tested at, ,,, and , to upload there to find more family. And yes! It is FREE.

Limitations:  The DNA match database is still growing so you may not have a lot of matches  (cousins) on Myheritage.  However, uploading the DNA raw data to will surely give you more DNA matches. Results


5. Visit to see if their company is for you. Starting at $200. Their MtDNA test about 8 markers of the HVR1 region. I would not recommend this company as a first choice at this point but it may be good after you have found that you have an African haplogroup with another company like FTDNA. This is a cheek swab test 

Advantage: If you took the YDNA test or MTDNA test with FTDNA and found that you have an African haplogroup, you may consider contacting them and paying around $200 to receive a certificate stating what African ethnic group(s) you share ancestry with. Their MtDNA and YDNA test starts at $285. ** About 35% of African Americans do NOT have African Mtdna line or YDNA line. See their website for details. Make an INFORMED decision.

Limitations of African Ancestry: They are the most costly DNA testing company for their YDNA, MtDNA test, and Autosomal. They do not test as many DNA markers as the other companies. The DNA raw data cannot be uploaded to any other website. They do not provide any DNA matches. If your test reveals your MtDNA line or your YDNA line is not African, you will not be able to find African relatives or African ethnic groups through them. You will need to test with one of the above companies. Source:… and… .

This test will not tell you that you are 100% of anything. It will not provide ANY percentages of your ethnicity. The percentages that they provide is a sequence similarity score. They test LESS than 1% of your DNA. The Cofounder can explain this to you. Certificate Example



Make an INFORMED decision.

Please visit the website for each DNA test, research it and determine which company works for YOU!!

Note: All images belong to their perspective companies. This is for educational purposes to encourage research in order to make an informed decision about DNA testing.

Originally posted :


Centimorgans in Genetic Geealogy

Reprinted from the International Society of Genetic Genealogy August 2, 2017. No adjustment was made to this article and is the ISOGG position.


In genetic genealogy, a centiMorgan (cM) or map unit (m.u.) is a unit of recombinant frequency which is used to measure genetic distance. It is often used to imply distance along a chromosome, and takes into account how often recombination occurs in a region. A region with few cMs undergoes relatively less recombination. The number of base pairs to which it corresponds varies widely across the genome (different regions of a chromosome have different propensities towards crossover). One centiMorgan corresponds to about 1 million base pairs in humans on average. The centiMorgan is equal to a 1% chance that a marker at one genetic locus on a chromosome will be separated from a marker at a second locus due to crossing over in a single generation.

The genetic genealogy testing companies 23andMeAncestryDNAFamily Tree DNA and MyHeritage DNA use centiMorgans to denote the size of matching DNA segments in autosomal DNA tests. Segments which share a large number of centiMorgans in common are more likely to be of significance and to indicate a common ancestor within a genealogical timeframe.

The centiMorgan was named in honor of geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan by his student Alfred Henry Sturtevant. Note that the parent unit of the centiMorgan, the Morgan, is rarely used today.

23andMe and Family Tree DNA both use HapMap to infer their centiMorgans.

centiMorgans vs megabases

CentiMorgans are interpolated numbers that take into consideration each area of a chromosome and its propensity to recombine. This means if two cousins share 40 cM on chromosome 1, and two different cousins share 40 cM on chromosome 5, they both can be predicted to share a certain degree of relationship statistically. Megabases vary slightly in different locations so that in the same scenario, if both sets shared 40 Mb pairs, it would be more difficult to ensure they are of a similar degree of relation without further accounting for location, chromosome and other factors.[1]

Ann Turner provides a useful explanation: “I think of the cM as being a unit of ‘effective’ distance. As an analogy, a mile is a fixed quantity (5280 feet), and so are megabases. But the probability that a person can walk a mile in 20 minutes is more fluid. If the terrain is very rough, the “effective” distance of a literal mile might be more like two miles if you’re trying to arrive at a certain time. We’re more interested in the probability that a segment will be passed on intact than the size of the segment in Mb”.[2]

As the cM is an empirical measure, based on recombination events in a particular dataset of parents and offspring, it can vary somewhat from study to study. This set of maps for each chromosome shows that the general shape of the centiMorgan vs megabase curve is similar for two datasets, but the absolute values are not quite the same:

cm values per chromosome

The following table compares cM values per chromosome at Family Tree DNAGEDmatch, and 23andMeAncestryDNA uses 3475 as the total cM according to the help screen for confidence level in a DNA match. This presumably excludes the X chromosome.

CM chromosome FTDNA&GEDMatch&23andMe.jpg

Probability of crossover

The following chart shows the estimated probability that a segment will be affected by a crossover. The chart does not take into account some variables such as inversions and different recombination rates for males and females.

Crossover probability centiMorgans.png

Converting centiMorgans into percentages

In order to get an approximate percentage of shared DNA from a Family Tree DNA Family Finder test, take all of the segments above 5 cM, add them together and then divide by 68.

The way the calculation works is that your total genome in cMs with the Family Finder test is 6770 cM. A half-identical match (such as a parent/child) is 3385 cM. This number has to be doubled to represent both the maternal and paternal sides giving a total of 6770 cM. Matt Dexter explains: “The reason the number is not 6770 or 6800, but rather 68, is that it saves an additional step doing the math to convert an answer to percent. For example, 3385 / 6770 = .5 then as a second step, .5 times 100 = 50%. Using 68 to start with saves the added math step. So (3385 / 6800) * 100 is the same thing as 3385 / 68, which results in = 50%.”[3]

Human reference genome

The centiMorgan totals per chromosome are based on the Human Reference Genome. 23andMe and Ancestry DNA use Build 37. Family Tree DNA use Build 37 for matching but Build 36 for segment boundaries in the Chromosome Browser. Raw data files are provided in both formats. Build 37 filled in quite a few gaps, and the number of base pairs in each of the chromosomes was longer in Build 37 as compared to Build 36. Consequently the cM totals per chromosome are lower for Family Finder than they are for 23andMe. GedMatch use Build 36, and convert AncestryDNA and 23andMe data from Build 37 to Build 36 for backward compatibility.

The latest version of the Human Reference Genome, Build 38, was released in December 2013. However, none of the companies have as yet adopted Build 38 and there is a “gentleman’s agreement” in place to stick with Build 37 for the present time.

Further reading


DNA Triangulation, What?

Triangulation is a term derived from surveying to describe a method of determining the Y-STR or mitochondrial DNA ancestral haplotype using two or more known data points. The term “Genetic Triangulation” was coined by genetic genealogist Bill Hurst in 2004 Triangulate

Here is a 3-step process for Triangulation: Collect, Arrange, Compare/Group.

  1. Collect all the Match-segments you can. I recommend testing at all three companies (23andMe, FTDNA, and AncestryDNA), and using GEDmatch. But, wherever you test, get all of your segments into a spreadsheet. If you are using more than one company, you need to download, and then arrange, the data in the same format as your spreadsheet. Downloading/arranging is best when starting a new spreadsheet. Downloading avoids typing errors, but direct typing is sometimes easier for updates. I recommend deleting all segments under 7cM – most of them will be IBC/IBS (false segments) anyway, and even the ones which may be IBD are very difficult to confirm as such. You are much better off doing as much Triangulation as you can with segments over 7cM (or use a 10cM threshold if you wish), and then adding smaller segments back in later, if you want to analyze them. NB: Some of your closer Matches will share multiple segments with you – each segment must be entered as a separate row in your spreadsheet. The minimum requirement for a Triangulation with a spreadsheet includes columns for MatchName, Chromosome, SegmentStartLocation, SengmentEndLocation, cMs and TG. Most of us also have columns for SNPs, company, testee, TG, and any other information of interest to you. Perhaps I need a separate blog post about spreadsheets… ;>j
  1. Arrange the segments by sorting the entire spreadsheet (Cntr-A) by Chromosome and Segment StartLocation. This is one sort with two levels – the Chromosome column is the first level. This puts all of your segments in order – from the first one on Chromosome 1 to the last one on Chromosome 23 (for sorting purposes I recommend changing Chromosome X to 23 or 23X so it will sort after 22). This serves the purpose of putting overlapping segments close to each other in the spreadsheet where they are easy to compare.
  1. Compare/Group overlapping segments. All of these segments are shared segments with you. So with segments that overlap each other, you want to know if they match each other at this location. If so this is Triangulation. This comparison is done a little differently at each company, but the goal is the same: two segments either match each other, or they don’t (or there isn’t enough overlapping segment information to determine a match). All the Matches who match each other will form a Triangulated Group, on one chromosome – call this TG A (or any other name you want). Go through the same process with the segments who didn’t match TG A. They will often match each other and will form a second, overlapping TG, on the other chromosome – call this TG B. [Remember you have two of each numbered chromosome.] So to review, and put it all a different way: All of your segments (every row of your spreadsheet) will go into one of 4 categories:
  • – TG A [the first one with segments which match each other]
  • – TG B [the other, overlapping, one with segments which match each other]
  • – IBC/IBS [the segments don’t match either TG A or TG B]
  • – Undetermined [there are not enough segments to form both TG A and TG B                            and/or there isn’t enough overlapping data to determine a match.]
  • NB: None of the segments in TG A should match any of the segments in TG B.
  1. At GEDmatch – the comparisons are easy. Just compare two kit numbers using the one-to-one utility to see if they match each other on the appropriate segment. The ones that do are Triangulated. You may also use the Tier1 Triangulation utility or the Segment utility. I prefer using the one-to-one utility and Chrome.
  1. At 23andMe you have several different utilities:
  • – Family Inheritance: Advanced lets you compare up to 5 Matches at a time. You may also request a spreadsheet of all your shared segments; sort that by chromosome and SegmentStart, and check to see if two of your Matches match each other. The ones that do are Triangulated.
  • – Countries of Ancestry: Sort a Match’s spreadsheet by chromosome and SegmentStart, search for your own name, and highlight the overlapping segments. The Matches on this highlighted list who are also on overlapping segments in your spreadsheet are Triangulated (the CoA spreadsheet confirms the match between two of your Matches)
  1. At FTDNA it’s a little trickier, because they don’t have a utility to compare two of your Matches. So the most positive method is to contact the Matches and ask them to confirm if they match your overlapping Matches, or not. The ones that do are Triangulated. An almost-as-good alternative is to use the InCommonWith utility. Look for the 2-squigley-arrows icon next to a Match’s name, click that, and select In Common With to get a list of your Matches who also match the Match you started with. Compare that list of Matches with the list of list of Matches with overlapping segments in your spreadsheet. Matches on both lists are considered to be Triangulated. Although this is not a foolproof method, it works most of the time. And if you find three or four ICW Matches in the same TG, the odds are much closer to 100%. Remember, every segment in your spreadsheet must go in one TG or the other, or be IBC/IBS, or be undetermined. If a particular Match, in one TG, is critical to your analysis, then try hard to confirm the Triangulation by contacting the Matches.
  1. AncestryDNA has no DNA analysis utilities. You need to convince your Matches to upload their raw data to GEDmatch (for free) or FTDNA (for a fee), and see the paragraphs above.

Comments to improve this blog post are welcomed.

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