Mitochondrial DNA gives a fascinating insight into how interconnected the world is, and how widely across the globe human beings have travelled.
Mitochondria is passed from the mother to all her children (but only the female child passes it onto the next generation). Because mitochondria changes so little over time, by comparing mitochondria from living people with the oldest skeletons across the world, scientists have managed to map the world as to when each haplo group first originated.
Here are the mitochondrial haplogroups of some famous people:
* Edward IV (lived 1442-1483) King of England from 1471 to 1483
* Richard III (lived 1452-1485) King of England from 1483 to 1485
Both Edward IV and Richard III got their DNA from their mother Cecily Neville – see Richard III – how they identified the skeleton
While haplogroup J is found mainly in the near east and north Africa, the subclade J1c2c is only 4500 years ago and is a more recent mutation and only found in Northern England, and even there in small amounts. The hypothesis is that the original woman with the J1 haplogroup migrated to Europe and settled in northern England, and J1c2c then formed in her children. We know that Cecily Neville came from a family that pre-dated the Norman invasion, and from this evidence, pre dated the Anglo-Saxon invasion too. Perhaps they were members of the Roman empire?
* Prince William of Wales
* Prince Harry of Wales
The two men will have got their mitochondrial DNA from Princess Diana, who was a direct mother-daughter descendant of Eliza Kerwark, an Indian woman from Surat, India. See the following history for the story of how Princess Diana got her mtDNA.