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In ancient times, a woman -- often referred to as "Iris" -- became the clan mother of mtDNA Haplogroup I. Everyone who belongs to Haplogroup I is her descendant through a solid line of daughters...our direct maternal ancestors.
The set of mutational differences (defining motif) for Haplogroup I is:
Over thousands of years, as additional rare genetic changes accumulated in Iris' descendants, haplogroup I diverged into a number of separate branches (clades), and each main branch went on to develop its own set of subclades.
Here are the main branches of I and the number of project members (with known or predicted subclades) in each one who have mtDNA test results at FTDNA. The totals were gathered on February 19, 2016, and May 4, 2019: