Haplogroup: the only ancestry information available on Promethease
Getting started with ancestry research can be confusing. Which type of DNA testing do I need? Which company has the best database for DNA matches? What is a haplogroup? These sorts of questions can overwhelm you before you even get started.
Getting DNA testing as your first step can save you countless hours of wasted research.
Ancestry DNA testing can provide information about your ancestors and family history from centuries past. Trained technicians can analyze your DNA sample to find markers that identify not only your genetic makeup but also your ancestor’s migrational path over the centuries.
That said, what you learn from DNA testing depends on the testing company. While most home-testing kits work in more or less the same way, the amount and type of information extracted from your DNA sample will vary from company to company.
The quality of a company’s database also affects how much you can learn. Programs that maintain a large database are more likely to provide DNA matches and the resources you need to take the next step in your ancestry search.
This article explores the pros and cons of the Promethease DNA testing tool and the importance of haplogroups in the search for your family’s history.
Does Promethease Provide Ancestry Information?
The simple answer to this question is: No.
Promethease, as a platform, does not provide information on genetic ancestry. Promethease is a literature retrieval system – it compares genetic variants within your genetic data from a raw data file to the findings from actual scientific publications.
Using Promethease.com, you can find medical conditions you may be at risk for and other health information related to SNPs in your genome. Though the system is not designed to find ancestry information, it can be used to research medical conditions and your genetic health.
The Promethease website was launched in 2008 and was acquired by MyHeritage in 2019. It is a widely used site with a library that provides health information on over 100,000 different gene variants. However, it does not provide services for learning about ancestry or making a family tree.
Promethease’s flagship product is a DNA health report. These reports cost only a few dollars each and are generated in less than 15 minutes. Results can be accessed online, downloaded, or exported to an Excel spreadsheet for ease of use.
Many providers of DNA analysis reports fail to explain how the information was produced, but Promethease allows users to filter information by academic reference. Users can also customize reports to pinpoint medical conditions such as prostate cancer.
This platform can provide important health information and allows users do to in-depth analysis on their own. However, it can be confusing and difficult to use without some foundational knowledge about genetic variants.
Pros and Cons of Promethease
Every DNA testing company has its strengths and weaknesses, and Promethease is no exception. Consider these pros and cons before deciding which testing tool will work best for you.
- A detailed analysis of raw data
- The ability to compare multiple data files in the same report
- Reports can be difficult to understand
- No health or wellness recommendations
- No ancestry information
- The tool for viewing your report is not user-friendly
If you’re looking for a high level of detail and the ability to filter, organize, and compare test results, Promethease may be a good choice.
However, if you’re just starting your ancestry research and are asking questions like “What is a haplogroup,” this service may not provide the information necessary to build a family tree and learn about your family’s history.
What Is Haplogroup Ancestry DNA?
A haplogroup is a population of people who share an ancestor in either their maternal or paternal line. Haplogroups are a subset of ancestral groups such as African Americans, Norwegians, or American Indians.
Identifying your haplogroup brings you one step closer to discovering more about your genealogy. For example, you may already know that your ancestry DNA haplogroup is Italian because your grandparents were all born in Rome, but that doesn’t mean everyone in Rome is in your ancestry DNA haplogroup.
Haplogroup ancestry DNA refers to a group of people you share genetic material with. Whether genetics are shared from the mother’s or father’s line is an important distinction. If you are searching for genealogy specific to your mother, it is necessary to look for mitochondrial ancestry DNA (mtDNA), which is passed only from mothers to children. In contrast, fathers pass Y-DNA to their sons.
Identifying your ancestry DNA haplogroup is valuable, but it is not the same as tracing genetic ancestry. In addition to haplogroup information, DNA testing can reveal information about the following:
- DNA matches, which indicate other testing customers that are a biological match for your DNA
- Recent ancestry (500 years)
- Extended ancestry (tens of thousands of years)
- Sub-regional ancestry, or the areas where your ancestors lived
Haplogroup testing is highly accurate. In cases when haplogroup assignment is unclear, the haplogroup of your most recent common ancestor is typically assigned.
What Is a Haplogroup? Maternal vs. Paternal
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is used to determine a maternal haplogroup.
Mitochondrial DNA is passed from the biological mother to all of her children, regardless of sex. It doesn’t mix with other forms of DNA. That means you share the same maternal haplogroup with all of your relatives on your mother’s side.
Paternal haplogroups relate to the Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son. Learning about your paternal (or “Y-DNA”) haplogroup requires testing from a male relative on your father’s side.
Everyone has two haplogroups: maternal and paternal. Both offer a wealth of information to anyone interested in ancestry research. What classifies you as a part of a specific haplogroup is the number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A DNA test will reveal your SNPs and corresponding haplogroups.
What Is the Most Common Haplogroup?
The most common maternal haplogroup is mtDNA haplogroup H. It’s found in up to 40% of all European people. Haplogroup H is also common in the Middle East, Northern Asia, Central Asia, and North Africa.
In Africa, the most common haplogroups are L1, L2, and L3.
When considering only Y-DNA haplogroups, the most common in Europe is R1. J is most prevalent in the Middle East, and A is the most common in Africa.
Q is the most common haplogroup in America, while in Asia and Oceania, L is the most common Y-DNA haplogroup.
Does Ancestry DNA Testing Show More Than Haplogroups?
Now that you understand haplogroup ancestry DNA, you should also understand that Promethease provides only haplogroup information. Though the focus of Promethease is primarily medical and scientific information, haplogroup data is included in a Promethease report. Unfortunately, the information isn’t always easy to locate.
The search for information provided by mitochondrial ancestry DNA (mtDNA) or haplogroup ancestry DNA does not need to stop with genealogy. Once you have access to your raw DNA data, you can upload this data to Genomelink to learn even more about your ancestry DNA haplogroup or conduct the same types of health research you get with Promethease. However, Genomelink is simpler to use, and you can learn about 100 genetic traits for free.
What Can Promethease Be Used For?
Promethease is a platform which allows you to do DNA analysis on your own. Using the platform you can search for different conditions, edit the number of studies required for genetic DNA testing results to show up, and even research specific SNPs. Using your DNA testing kit data, Promethease analyzes which SNP variants you carry, and directs you to studies which have covered those variants and their effects.
Promethease can also be used to analyze multiple samples at once, and compare the raw DNA data between the samples. The platform has a number of various tools to filter the results which allow users to analyze the genetic variants of their choice. However, Promethease can also be very confusing, and any health reports you obtain should be reviewed with a genetic counselor. One option searches for clinvar information, which are genes which have been clinically verified to be associated with specific conditions. These genetic variants may put you at high risk for certain conditions.
If you’re new to Promethease and want to take a crack at it, follow this guide on how best to extract the most important and relevant information to you.
Promethease Haplogroup Research
However, there is a longer answer to the initial question.
Promethease does have some tools which allow you to track your haplotype. The haplogroup you belong to can be identified within genes found on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), X-chromosomes, and Y-chromosomes. If you are wondering how to find out your haplogroup from autosomal DNA, the problem is many companies focus only on autosomal DNA, which does not carry haplogroup information. Not all genetic DNA testing companies test mtDNA, X-DNA, or Y-DNA.
The Promethease platform does allow the ability to analyze for haplotype if you used the right genetic DNA testing company. For example, users on the Ancestry Support Page, who were looking for how to find mtDNA haplogroup from sites like AncestryDNA, reported that AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and FamilyTreeDNA testing kits do not test for the specific SNPs required to determine haplogroup, while 23andMe does test segments of the mtDNA and Y-chromosome.
Getting a Promethease report on your ancient family history is no simple feat, unfortunately. Using their DNA analysis tool, a number of steps are required to determine your haplotype. Various sites cover this process, including a site from SNPedia covering haplogroups and an ISOGG page covering SNPs related to various haplogroups.
Other Ways to Get Ancestry Information
If you are working on becoming an amateur genetic genealogist, there are much better free haplogroup DNA test options online for discovering your Y-DNA haplogroup. For instance, the National Geographic Geno 2.0 test automatically includes haplotype information in addition to your autosomal test. FTDNA also includes Y haplogroup and mtDNA haplogroup information, if you buy specific tests related to those traits. Any other companies that do genetic DNA testing specifically for Y-DNA or mtDNA will show you your haplotype information.
Before determined family historians knew to ask, “What is a haplogroup,” they got ancestry information from good old-fashioned research. Some amount of research is still needed to fill in the blanks that DNA testing can’t always provide.
Start by talking to family members to gather as much information about immediate ancestors as possible. Researching public documents like census forms and birth, death, marriage, and divorce records can also provide a wealth of information.
How To Find Haplogroup From Raw Data?
If you already have taken a DNA testing kit, you can use sites like GEDmatch to find further ancestry data. Alternatively, several of the sites below offer ancestry analysis for free. Check them out!
1. Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) — FREE
2. MyHeritage DNA — FREE
3. LivingDNA — FREE
To find out more DNA upload sites, check out our article "The Best DNA Upload Sites".
Is Your DNA Data Safe with Promethease?