Big News! Probable Native American DNA Breakthrough

We are on the verge of another new and very exciting discovery, but we need funding to finish the research.  Let me tell you about what’s going on and maybe you’ll decide to be a part of this new discovery by making a contribution.

It’s not everyday that someone gets the opportunity to make a significant contribution to scientific discovery.  But you have that opportunity today.

I believe a new Native American haplogroup, or genetic clan, has been discovered.  We have strong evidence, but we need to finish testing on a group of people for the final proof.  People whose DNA results qualify for testing have been notified, and several are ready and willing to have their results upgraded, but don’t have the funding.  I’ve funded some, and I’ve used contributed funds I’ve squirreled away from past donations, and now I’m reaching out in the hopes that together we can collaboratively make this happen.

Most of you know that I’m a long time researcher in both the genetic genealogy and Native American fields, particularly where they intersect.  I’ve being involved with genetic genealogy since the beginning and am tri-racial myself, descended from multiple Native ancestors and tribes.  I write the Personal DNA Reports for Family Tree DNA, own and write the free blogs, and   You can verify anything in this article directly with Bennett Greenspan, the President of Family Tree DNA at  In fact, Bennett is both aware and supportive of this DNA testing endeavor and has offered reduced test pricing for a short time to facilitate this discovery process.

By the way, this is not the first time this has happened.  I was also involved with a similar discovery in December 2010.  You can read about that discovery at this link.

Ok, now that you know who I am and why I care, let me tell you about the discovery.

Discovery of a New Native American Haplogroup

To date, only 5 female Native American base haplogroups, or clans, have been discovered.   A, B, C, D and X.  Within these haplogroups are subgroups, and not all subgroups in each haplogroup are Native American.  Some are Asian and European.  In fact, in haplogroup A, which is the haplogroup being studied in this project, only subgroup A2 has been confirmed to be Native American – until now.

Recently, I was working with a client’s DNA, writing a Personal DNA Report, and I realized, based on her information and that of some of the people she matched, that a subgroup of haplogroup A4 is also very likely Native American.

For Native American history, this is a big discovery.  But we need more information.  We need to proof.  How can we do that?

Advanced Testing

We need to test people in haplogroup A who are predicted to fall into this new Native American haplogroup at the full sequence level.  Mitochondrial DNA testing falls into three levels.  The highest level, the full sequence level is the one that tests the entire mitochondria and is required to obtain a full haplogroup assignment.  In other words, if you don’t test the full sequence, you’ll know that you are haplogroup A, but you’ll never know if you are A2, A4 or A10 for that matter.

Of people who have tested only at the lower levels, we have identified a small group of people who we believe will test to be haplogroup A4 or a subgroup based on some specific mutations.  Bennett Greenspan has offered discount testing for the upgraded test through July 5th.

Some people have been able to pay for their own upgrade, but not all, and I certainly don’t want the lack of funds to impede the discovery and proof of a new haplogroup.  This is akin to raising the history of this group of Native people from the dead, from the dust where some of our history and people have been lost until now.

We need several hundred dollars in total.  If everyone that we’d like to test participates, it will cost more than $2000.  You can contribute directly to the haplogroup A4 mtDNA project at Family Tree DNA and the funds will be used directly for this testing.  Every little bit helps – no amount is too small.  You can contribute in memory of someone, anonymously, or however you wish.

In a few months, we’ll let you know the outcome of this testing and what we discover, right here.  I can hardly wait!

Thank you in advance for your support.

Roberta Estes

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in DNA. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Big News! Probable Native American DNA Breakthrough

  1. Anne Poole says:

      Congrats on this big news !          


  2. Carolina Carol says:

    Good morning Roberta ~ happy to hear about this research breakthrough. I have always known that I carried Native American heritage from my mother’s side (from along the VA/NC border area). I recently discovered that it is likely that I also carry native from my father’s side (from the Lumberton area). My parents are 80ish and my dad’s health is declining. I would very much like to have their DNA tested so that I would know my own heritage and I am inspired my your info above to move on this now. I would like to take advantage of the discounted opportunity that you are referring to above. Can you advise me on what test to perform and what would be the best source of this testing? I would be most grateful for your guidance on this so that I can solve this lingering family mystery. Much appreciation ~

  3. emilybruder says:

    Roberta, Is this something one would send in a new DNA Sample to have examined? Would there be someone who would help me read it? I do not have access to a direct male descendent. My maternal line does not pick up on my Indian heritage. Is it possible this test will? Thank you, Emily Brothers

  4. blzlovr says:

    I just found out about the 23andMe Haplogroup Tree Mutation Mapper (Ancestry Tools/Haplogroup Tree Mutation Mapper) and it shows A4. I’m in B2.
    Maternal line (mitochondrial genome)
    A4 defining mutations
    variant call rCRS anc
    i3001887 16362 T
    i3001888 16362 T
    A defining mutations
    variant call rCRS anc
    rs3937037 235 A
    i4001195 235 A
    rs3937039 663 A
    rs28358574 1736 A
    rs28405897 4248 T
    rs28357978 4824 A
    i3001467 4824 A
    rs28499516 8794 C
    rs34524463 16290 C
    i3001800 16290 C
    rs35105996 16319 G
    i3001840 16319 G


  5. Sarah says:

    I am also tri-racial myself, descended from multiple Native ancestors and tribes.
    Richard Fields from Tennessee who was on the Indian Reserve Board was my 3x great grand uncle! My mother has Creek and Cherokee in her Fields Family .
    I also have Indian in my dad’s side . He was registered for WW1 as Indian.
    Yet FTDNA says I have no trace of Indian Origin in my DNA !!
    I know better and it is greatly diminishing my faith and confidence in them, !
    I had my last MTDNA Test done and if don’t show nothing then I’m going to say this is a lot of mumbojumbo and not ever real anymore !!

  6. Alfie Alejandro Roncancio says:

    Hi Roberta, forgive me for my lack of knowledge on dna and ancestry, but recently I took a couple of tests to test both my Y-dna and Mtdna. Both results have come back and my ydna has turned out to be E1b1a, and as far as I know it sort of makes sense since native american ydna lines are becoming rarer these days. As for my mtdna, I simply just got an A on my haplogroup, and I don’t really know what to make of that as I purchased the mtdnaplus from in hope that it would at least tell me which subgroup I am. But to my horror the pricing for the full sequence is absolutely out of my budget at the moment as I have a family to look after in these hard times.
    I recently gathered some money to order two further tests, the autosomal test (family finder) and also a D9S919 test to see if I indeed carry it somehow. Again my knowledge of this subject is limited but I am learning as I go. Very interesting article! I would be happy to share my results with you if you wish for my mtdna.

  7. Pingback: Native American Mitochondrial Haplogroups | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  8. Pingback: Native American Mitochondrial or Maternal Haplogroups | Native Heritage Project

  9. Researching Hubby says:

    My wife’s family is known to be Native American (Cherokee) on her mother’s dad’s side, but her mother’s mom’s side is English. Her maternal haplogroup is T2b7a2, and she shows as not having any Native American ancestry. To explain this, someone suggested that her ancestors may have lied about their heritage and just pretended to be Native American. This is unsettling and frankly insulting, especially considering the family tree has been traced through multiple generations of Native American heritage. However, to me there seems to be a more basic question: how would she tell if she really has Native American ancestry if her mtDNA is given to her by the non-Native American part of her heritage and she doesn’t have a Y chromosome? I realize this is only partly related to your article, but I’ve searched, and it’s hard to find a definitive answer to this question.
    Great article, btw. Thanks for doing this work.

  10. Marie says:

    Hi Roberta, I am a member of the haplogroup A4. I have already donated my results to FamilyTree DNA. Are there any other places you suggest I should donate my results to, for research? If they are of interest, I would like to share them as much as possible. I am a member of the scientific community, and even if I am not involved in this type of research, I would still like to contribute something if it is needed.

    • Other projects you might join would depend on the region where your ancestor lived and perhaps other things like the ethnic group she was associated with. Of course, that varies by individual. You can browse the various projects available through the project join button at Family Tree DNA.

  11. I know when my Uniparental DNA Haplogroups probably nothing to do with this topic. But, i already took a Y37 And mtFullSequence test from FTDNA with coupon discount request last year on October 2015. The results were i belongs to Y Hg O3a2-P201 and mtDNA Hg B4c (previously mtDNA Hg B). And my Geno 2,0 results: My Y Hg O2-M134 +M117 +M133 or O-CTS5492 and my mtDNA Hg B4c2 (previously B4c). I hope when my DNA results can help the scientist or geneticist to learned more about human anthropological molecular DNA even though my mtDNA Hg B4c2 probably more related with Southeast Asians, Southern Chinese and Pasific Islanders than Native American mtDNA Hg B4b / B2.

  12. Sylvia C Sanchez says:

    I would like to how much native American Indian I am

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