The Million Mito Project

Join us in growing the mtDNA Tree of Humankind

Take the mtDNA test to discover more about your maternal line and be one of the one million testers whose results will rewrite the mtDNA Tree of Humankind.


Genealogical and historical information passed to us

Every human being, regardless of sex, inherits mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from their biological mother, but only biological females can pass on mtDNA to their offspring. In return, this chain forms what is called a “matrilineal ancestral line.” The mtDNA Tree of Humankind maps the journey of Mitochondrial “Eve,” who lived 150,000 years ago, to you today.

mtDNA can be used for genealogy matching while also tracking the historic migration path of our ancestors. Further, mtDNA is unique because it does not divide with each new generation or mix with the DNA of the father, providing an unbroken link with our maternal legacy.

The Million Mito Project Mission

The mission of The Million Mito Project is to encourage over one million people to explore their direct maternal line by taking an mtDNA test and contributing to the largest shared evolutionary mtDNA tree of humankind ever assembled.

New sequences will be generated and analyzed.

New sequences will be generated and analyzed.​

Branches will be refined.

Branches will be refined. 

New migration routes will be discovered.

New migration routes will be discovered.


Take the mtFull Sequence test and automatically join!

The more people who take the mtFull Sequence test (mtDNA), the more branches, twigs, and leaves can be discovered and mapped—providing useful genealogical information as well as our ancestors’ deeper history.


The Million Mito team

Roberta Estes

Writes at DNAeXplain, scientist, author, genetic genealogist, and Genographic Project affiliate researcher

Haplogroup, J1c2f

Paul Maier, Ph.D.

Population Geneticist at FamilyTreeDNA, evolutionary biologist, phylogeneticist, and wildlife researcher

Haplogroup, U5a2b2a

Goran Runfeldt

Head of Research and Development at FamilyTreeDNA and Genographic Project affiliate researcher

Haplogroup, K2a11

Miguel Vilar, Ph.D.

Genetic anthropologist, science journalist, and former lead scientist for National Geographic’s Genographic Project

Haplogroup, J1c2o

Have questions? We have answers.

Can genetic males participate in the Million Mito Project?

Yes, everyone can participate in the Million Mito Project, regardless of their genetic sex, because all humans have mitochondrial DNA that was passed down to them by their biological mother.

Mitochondrial DNA follows a precise matrilineal inheritance pattern; therefore, it can be used to identify, support, and reject matrilineal genealogical connections.

The Million Mito Project will construct a new Mitotree with more detailed haplogroups. The PhyloTree haplogroups are thousands of years old, and we aim to create a much more refined tree with younger haplogroups that are more relevant for genealogy. We will continue to refine the mtDNA Tree’s haplogroups as more people test and new branches are discovered.

You are automatically enrolled in the Million Mito Project when you take the mtDNA test at FamilyTreeDNA. We recommend recruiting relatives from different lineages to take the mtDNA test if you have already tested.