mtDNA YFull Tree

YFull Launches New mtDNA Tree

As many of you know, Phylotree has not been updated in several years. While I support Phylotree and Dr. Van Oven’s efforts, he has not answered emails in some time either. This is so for both many of you and for myself.

The new FTDNA tree is nice, but it follows Phylotree. Now, I have a deep wish that FTDNA would take the initiative and create an active tree like they have for Big Y results. However, that is only a magical HOPE on my list of things for FTDNA to roll out at the conference this year.

Meanwhile, YFull has introduced a new mtDNA tree. They say they will be actively updating it with results from both customers and from published studies.

The YFull mtDNA Tree

I am working on a tutorial to show the basic use. However, I am impressed with the design. It is very clear, and the pages load quickly.

I do not advocate paid 3rd party products. Therefore, I will not tell you that you should buy from YFull. However, their tree is a nice service to the community.

The YFull mtDNA Tree Basics

The homepage for the tree includes all of the branches on the backbone of the tree. This is good, because the mtDNA tree has a complex backbone with many branches like Y and Z tucked in under others. Clicking on any of the backbone branch names opens up that branch with its sub-branches.

YFull mtDNA Tree Backbone

The branch pages show each sub-branch under them and additional information including defining variants, representative samples, and calculated ages.

YFull mtDNA Tree Branch Page

Where there are representative samples in the database, they are shown under each branch. Most academic samples come from the US NIH GenBank database. Note that YFull does not include FTDNA or YSeq submitted samples with the academic samples.

YFull mtDNA Tree Samples on Branches

When an academic sample is from GenBank, checking there in for additional information is simple.

GenBank Homepage

The results page is complex to read, but with practice, you can find any additional information for sample.

A GenBank Single Sample

From any YFull mtDNA Tree page, it is also possible to search on a variant. On the upper right corner of a page, click on the search button.

YFull Search on Upper Right

You can then search for any one variant on the tree using RSRS format.

Searching for G3010A on the YFull mtDNA tree

This returns a list of all branches on the tree that include the variant.

YFull mtDNA variant search results

Clicking on any branch name will take you to that branch on the tree.

The YFull mtDNA Tree Performance

It would not be fair of me to talk about YFull without evaluating their site by the standards to which I have recently held other genetic genealogy bloggers. So, here we go.


YFull’s site including their mtDNA tree fair poorly using the Google Lighthouse tool.

Lighthouse – 17 May 2019


Despite this, on most computers it loads within a few seconds. Here are Pingdom results.

Pingdom results 17 Mar 2019


YFull is compliant in most ways for GDPR. Their site uses HTTPS. They have a privacy policy. They do not have non-essential cookies load when the user is from an EU country. Their security headers as of right now could be much more secure.

4 thoughts on “YFull Launches New mtDNA Tree”

  1. Rebekah, do you know what’s their estimation method for TMRCA? Some haplogroups suddenly look much older than seen before, including in scientific research.

    1. They have not published their method yet. I think everything looks too old so far. I do know from papers that some branches like H are usually adjusted to account for the rapid Bronze age expansion in Europe and over-sampling.

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