Private Individuals

Mitochondrial DNA analysis may be helpful in certain kinds of personal, non-criminal, investigations:

Maternity and maternal relatedness: Mitochondrial DNA cannot tell anything about the paternity (father) of an individual because, while men inherit their mother's mitochondrial DNA type, they do not pass it on to their offspring. But because mitochondrial DNA is maternally inherited, it can be used to compare mothers and their alleged offspring, siblings to each other, or even to compare more distantly related maternal relatives. For example, two siblings separated in early childhood can test their shared maternity with mitochondrial DNA analysis.

Genealogy: Some clients wish to trace a family tree. As long as the compared individuals in the lineage are connected by an unbroken line of female relatives, mitochondrial DNA can support the maternal relatedness of these individuals if the mitochondrial DNA profile is the same. There are caveats to this type of investigation, and we can educate you about them. Studies have shown that mitochondrial DNA is transmitted faithfully over many generations and hundreds of years! And, because mitochondrial DNA is present in long-buried skeletal remains, it provides opportunities to investigate interesting historical mysteries.

Smithsonian scientists unravel mystery of Texas outlaw (Read the article)