A haplotype is a group of genes in an organism that are typically inherited together from a haplogroup. A haplogroup is a group of similar haplotypes that share a common ancestor with a single-nucleotide polymorphism mutation.
If you know your haplogroup, you can learn a lot more about your own ancestry.
Maternal haplogroups are determined by defining variants in your mitochondrial DNA, while paternal haplogroups are determined by defining variants in your Y Chromosome. Every single person (we checked – it’s really every single person!) inherits their mitochondria from their mothers. Did you know that the mitochondrial DNA is the only DNA that is found outside the nucleus? And did you know that because of this, our mitochondrial DNA doesn’t recombine with any of our other DNA?
This means, that since we inherit our mother’s mitochondria and it doesn’t necessarily go through recombination, we will always share the same maternal haplogroup with any relative that we share our maternal line with.
And like we mentioned before, the paternal haplogroup assignment is determined by defining variants in your Y Chromosome. The Y chromosome is the sex-determining chromosome for males, which men naturally get from their fathers. Unless you inherited a Y chromosome from your father, you will not have a paternal haplogroup assignment; hence why women do not have paternal haplogroups.