Cornwall-mtDNA

Mitochondrial DNA from Cornwall, Britain.
  • 78 members

About us

The focus of this project is on Maternal Ancestral lines from Cornwall, England. Anybody with a direct maternal ancestor who lived in Cornwall is encouraged to join the project.

Mitichondria are rod-shaped organelles scattered outside the nucleus in cells, and they are responsible for energy generation and transport within the cell. These are bacteria-like cells originally captured in symbiosis by a nuclear cell. The numbers in each cell vary by type of cell (zero in red blood cells, over 2000 in liver cells) but they all have the same genome, passed entirely from the mother. 

There are only 16,569 base pairs in mitochondrial DNA, compared with about 3 billion in the nucleus. Consequently, mutations in mitochondria are rare, occurring only once in a thousand years or so. Accordingly, discrimination using mtDNA is fairly low  and mitochondrial matches tend to be spread widely in area..

Nevertheless the distribution of haplogroups differs a great deal between continents, with

  • L is African (L1, L2, L4, L5 branches; everyone else is descended from L3),

  • H, U, T and K are European,

  • D, F, M, N and R are East Asian,

  • Indians are M, R and U,  and

  • A, B and C are Native American.
In Europe, U are regarded as the original hunter-gatherers while H spread with agriculture. There does not appear to be a massive expansion in the early Bronze age, as there was with men and YDNA.