23andMe’s Newest Feature Explores Your Ancestry

Mike and Eric

Our team rolled out a new feature called Ancestry Composition last week that will tell you more about what you’re made of, or more precisely, the geographic origins of your DNA.

Principal Product Scientist Mike Macpherson, former Research Scientist Chuong “Tom” Do, and Computational Biologist Eric Durand led the team that spent many months developing an innovative and accurate tool to determine your ancestry going as far back as 500 years.

One of the stunning aspects of Ancestry Composition is that it’s based on the newest advances in machine learning and thus will get better over time.

“Ancestry Composition is truly innovative. Not only does it use public-genetic databases for reference, it also uses the data set from 23andMe, so as more people join 23andMe, the more powerful and more accurate Ancestry Composition will become,” Mike said.

The feature can very accurately detail the mosaic of your ancestral background, distinguishing British and Irish ancestry, for instance, or telling you the breakdown of your Scandinavian or Italian ancestral origins. It’s also a powerful tool for finding Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.

Right now, Ancestry Composition is particularly interesting for people of mixed ancestry: individuals who have Native American, Latino, African American or mixed European heritage.

It’s a great tool already and promises to keep getting better.

An update is planned in the near future to add more detail for people with African and Asian ancestry. This will give a finer level of detail and help customers zero in on the regions of their ancestral origins.

But the feature can be enlightening for people of any background offering a view of an individual’s genetic ancestry, breaking down the mix of ancestry by percentage and putting it all into an intuitive visualization.

There are several other bells and whistles for those who want to dive in and find a few fun surprises.

One of those is the Split View, which gives great detail for customers who have at least one parent also in the 23andMe community. If at least one parent has been tested and is linked through the Family Tree feature, Ancestry Composition’s Split View will tell you what mix of your ancestry comes from your mother and what mix of your ancestry comes from your father.

Another add-on to the feature is a Chromosome View, which “paints” the ancestry on each of your 23 chromosomes.

If you’d like to see more detail on how this has done you can look both at a white paper put together by Mike or a recent poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics, which outlines the technique.

The new feature replaces 23andMe’s “ancestry painting” and “global similarity,” two tools that were equally pioneering when they were first introduced. But with Ancestry Composition 23andMe breaks new ground and sets a new standard for determining genetic ancestry.


  • http://www.genomesunzipped.org Luke

    Very nice!

    Is it possible to get access to our raw results – i.e. the per-population probabilities for each chunk, along with the start and end locations? Or even just the best guess, probability and position for each chunk, if you didn’t save all the probabilities.

    • ScottH

      Luke,
      Thanks for the note. Mike Macpherson said that we don’t currently offer that access, but we’ll likely add something like this in the future. We do store the full posterior probabilities, and 23andMe will be offering access to Ancestry Composition results via our API starting later today.

  • Patrick M.

    Does the ancestry also differentiate Metis from simply being of French/Scottish and Native descent?

    • ScottH

      We don’t specifically identify Metis ancestry — Canadians with mixed early European and Native American ancestry. But their Native American and European ancestry would indeed be identified and broken out with the Ancestry Composition feature.

  • Bridget

    Congratulations on this new feature – it is fascinating! As a female, who does not have any paternal data in her profile, is my Ancestry Composition page only showing the results from my mtDNA?

    Thank you!

    • ScottH

      The short answer is no, Ancestry Composition includes autosomal DNA. That said you’d be able to learn quite a bit more about your ancestry if you also had a direct male relative tested — brother, father, paternal uncle, paternal granddad or paternal cousin.

  • Maureen Martin

    This is beautiful! I have one suggestion, though. I know this service is web based and everything looks beautiful online…but…most of us would like a print out of this fascinating picture! Saving it as a screen shot is adequate, but our home printers just do not differentiate the subtle shadings of our European backgrounds. I would suggest very different colors for the sub-regions so we can get a clearer printout to frame!

  • Davidski

    I’ve got one very important question…

    When is this thing going to get fixed for us reference samples?

    • ScottH

      Ancestry Composition is a really powerful and accurate analysis, and there is a fair bit of complexity underlying its power. 23andMe Community members have been really helpful in identifying a few cases where the analysis can be improved. Along with the updates to the East Asian and Sub-Saharan African reference data sets, we’re actively working on ironing out these cases so all customers have a great experience. We don’t have exact dates right now, but we’ll post progress updates in the 23andMe Community.

  • Linda S

    This feature seems interesting; however, I have 26.1% Non-specific European, 0.3% Non-specific Native American, and 2.8% unassigned? This is confusing and seems to be a rather large amount of my DNA that is not identified. Will there be more data in the future?

    • ScottH

      The short answer to your question is yes. With more reference data we’ll be able to return more specific results. In making the assignments for Ancestry Composition we err on the side of accuracy. We would rather our assignments be based on solid science. If you haven’t already see it this white paper will explain how assignments are made. Essentially when we do not have enough data to make the call, and no group of populations reaches the threshold we have set to make that assignment, we’ll report “Unassigned.” We’ve built in three confidence thresholds to Ancestry Composition. These are Speculative (50 percent), Standard (75 percent), and Conservative (90 percent). You can select any one of those three settings to see how your results would change with different thresholds.

  • Kimmo Palin

    More resolution please! ;) Is there plans to provide finer grained ancestry mapping for individuals from well sampled populations? As you say in the Ancestry Composition Guide page, you should be able to place an europeans ancestry to within 100 miles. I’d love to get more information about my ancestry than the current “99.9% Finn”

    • ScottH

      We do have plans to update in the coming weeks what is returned for people of African and Asian ancestry. But the feature has been built to improve over time, so we expect that over time it will return ever finer grained ancestry mapping.

      • Lemba

        I am very excited for the Africa/asiani being broken out, finally! This is great news for a person of quad-racial mixture. One clarification, when you say Asian ancestry are you also referign to the Native being broken out? I have noticed a clear pattern that people who are substantially native have a high % of unassigned and it is related to parts of the genome which are NORTH-native american, there are reference datasets wtih na-dene and greenlanders, i think this will suffice if those datasets have enough markers, to add north-natives. Also is there a plan to fix the mideast/italian mixup issue in the next update?

      • Matt

        Any word yet on when there will be updates for Asian ancestry in the Ancestry Composition? I think the current comparisons of people as either closer to China or Japan are quite inaccurate, particularly considering how big of a country China is. It would be nice to see a further breakdown in 23andme the way some third-party tools use (and to compare those with 23andme’s research too!)

        • ScottH

          Hi Matt, We do plan on updating Ancestry Composition with more reference data related to African populations and Asian populations. That will be done in the near future. We don’t yet have a date, but soon. We’ll give notice in the blog when that’s up and running.

        • Norman

          I just ordered a testing kit and I am hoping to confirm/figure out what turned up in my Genographic 2.0 results.

          According to the “Our Story” section of my results, my haplogroup is 02B1A2A.

          From what I have been able to gather from the web, this is a primary marker for a substantial percentage of the Japanese and Korean populations and is found in very small percentages of Thai and Vietnamese people.

          My families are from Southern China, so this result was a bit of a surprise for me.

          Will the current East Asian dataset provide some granularity to my results so I can sort this out? If not, will the future updates allow me to do so?

          Thanks.

  • David Sawyer

    So at this time, you are unable to differentiate specific tribal ancestry (i.e. Cherokee, Cree, Lakota) among native Americans with this test? Is there away to do this and if so, what is it called and where can we have it done?

    • ScottH

      You are correct, we do not differentiate between specific tribal ancestry. The issue is that right now there are not good reference data sets to use to determine tribal origins.

  • Davidp

    Dumb question, but if my results indicate a tiny % of East Asian ancestry, does this mean that 500 years ago I had an East Asian ancestor, or that sometime before 500 years ago there was an ancestor? (possibly 10,000 years ago, for instance). Just trying to figure it all out. Fascinating!
    Thanks

  • Luis

    A lot of people who are not part of the reference samples are getting high percentages of unassigned southern European, European or nonassigned in general. Plus, many people from far away places are getting a lot of Italian too. Some people who score higher than average Middle Eastern on all of the other calculators and tests: Dodecad, DNA Tribes, Eurogenes, McDonald’s etc. are getting a very small % here. I think you should look into these questions.

    • ScottH

      Luis, Thanks for the comments. 23andMe Community members have helped us identify a few issues that have come up with reference populations. We’re fixing those issues and will soon have updates adding in East Asian and Sub-Saharan African reference populations, which will return more detailed results for customers with African and East Asian ancestry. We want to ensure that all customers have the same great experience exploring their ancestry.

      • J Winterberg

        The Middle Eastern ancestry seems very broad — especially since parts of the Middle East, like Lebanon and Syria, appear quite distinct. Is there any plan to drill down within that region as you have among European? (Currently, my mother and I are showing large parts of Italian heritage that we have no known record of, whereas we have record of our Lebanese ancestors and those percentages are not showing up under the Middle East category of this tool.)

  • Andru

    But many ppl are immigrants… If you use their DNA data and their current country, it will mess up the entire database.

    • ScottH

      Thanks for the note. We have ways to ensure that the people we use in our reference population datasets actually represent the ancestry we want referenced.

  • Ellen

    I’m having a hard time discerning the differences between the different shades of blue-green on my all-European chromosome map (particularly when I look at the “speculative estimate”. Is there any chance of adjusting the colors to make it easier to tell them apart?

  • LH

    So no more PCA (Principal Component Analysis) of global populations?

  • http://Facebook Joyce

    I have ordered 2 test kits and am ordering 2 more. But can you tell me. I have a large family or just friends that have to same last name and we are trying to make a connection.we want to send in male and frmale test to family members that go back to the beginning as far as we can. would this be able to tell us if there is a connection. or if our D.N.A matches at some point..

    • ScottH

      Joyce, In answer to your question, yes we can determine if two people are related and how closely. But no we can’t go back to “the beginning.” In terms of finding cousins we can find distant cousins who share a common ancestor many generations back perhaps six or seven generations. That said we do also look at deep ancestry by tracking paternal and maternal haplogroups. These lines really tell you more about where your very distant ancestors came from and the common line you share with a much broader group of people.

      • carolyn

        Why can’t we see closer cousins and relatives instead of 3rs 4th 5th 6th and so on?

        • ScottH

          Carolyn, You can see closer cousins if you match to someone who is a close relative in our database. That person would also have to opt in to Relative Finder to be able to see a match as would you.

  • http://www.karenfavazzaspencer.com/Karen_Favazza_Spencer/Family_Tree.html Karen

    My Italian family engaged in a lot of “clan” intermarriages, typically at the 3rd cousin relationship. Consequently, different lines converge at common ancestors. So if you are 4th cousins twice and perhaps also a 3rd cousin once removed, what does that do to the relationship results?

  • Cynthia

    I understand that the DNA goes back 500 years ago, but how about the last 100 years? I was told I have American Indian in me from a couple of generations ago, but my results say 0%. Is this accurate?

    • Jay

      I have the same results for 23andme which shows 75% unassigned, yet tells me I’m 99% European and No Native, yet other tests show I have Native Blood. (I know my father’s side is Native AND I have all of the features; shoveled teeth, big space between big toe and second toe, Anatolian bump etc..) It’s disappointing to say the least.

  • Melody

    Looks like my ancestry was updated, and now it’s showing something more like 0.1%, which makes way more sense to me.

  • Robin

    My ancestry is showing about 22% Ashkenazi, but my relative finder is showing almost 100% Ashkenazi. How do I get to see the 78% of relatives from other branches of my ancestry?

    thanks,
    Robin

  • Lauren McGuire

    I just ordered three kits – one for myself, one for my father and another for my son. I have been told that my ancestors are Russian, Polish and we think that my father’s grandfather was Italian. What can I expect in the analysis since both my father and myself are getting tested? Specifically, if there is Italian heritage, will it show up as such or undetermined European?

    Also, my son’s father was adopted with no known genetics for him. Will the ancestry breakdown for my son clearly be able to distinguish my ancestry vs. his fathers?

    • ScottH

      You should be able to see a breakdown of your European ancestry. What will be interesting is to see what was passed from your father to you and then on to your son. If your father’s grandfather was Italian, that should be fairly clear in both his and your ancestry compositions. It would be much harder if your Italian ancestor was from five or six generations back.
      Finally, about your son and what he will be able to discern. In the ancestry composition feature we have something called “split view” where a person can see what ancestry came from their mother and what came from their father. You must have at least one parent tested to be able to see the visualization, but because you’ve been tested he will be able to see that.

  • Cherie Weitkamp

    If I have already given a sample can you find out more about my ancestors or do I have to do this again ?

    Cherie

    • ScottH

      Cherie there is no need to send in another sample, the new features are for all users.

  • Randal

    I am new to 23and Me. I just got my Ancestry Composition a couple of days ago. I have tested with several other labs–FTDNA, Ancestry, EthnoAncestry, and Sorenson. I am projected by 23andMe to be 99.6% European, apparently of every stripe imaginable. I was surprised, however, to see 0.4% SSA. I understand that different labs use different data sets, and that 0.4% could be noise or some kind of artifact, but I’m still curious about the SSA, as no other autosomal test I’ve taken has indicated this particular ancestry. Could this be an indication of deep ancestry? I have my pedigree back several hundred years, and there is no indication of SSA in my background. This is fascinating, and I’d like to know more.

  • ScottG

    Hi I just got my ancestry composition results back and its very interesting. However I was told that I have Black Dutch ancestry and possibly Native American ancestry. But it didnt come back with any results like that. My family has often time very dark and even “Asian” or “Native American” features that are clearly not Northern European. Do you know how to explain this? LOL

    • ScottH

      If your Native American ancestry goes back beyond 200 years — beyond six generations back — the DNA signal may be too hard to see. That said often times a person’s physical features — their phenotype — may not really be a good indication of their ancestral origins. Without knowing what your ancestral composition is — the percentage of European, Asian or African ancestry you have and where that ancestry is from (ie. Northern or Southern Europe), it would be hard to say more.

      • ScottG

        Here is the Standard Estimate to the composition: 99.7%
        European

        Northern European
        20.1%
        British and Irish
        0.3%
        Scandinavian
        64.7%
        Nonspecific Northern European
        1.4%
        Eastern European

        Southern European
        0.8%
        Sardinian
        0.1%
        Nonspecific Southern European
        12.4%
        Nonspecific European
        0.3%
        Unassigned
        100%
        What I find interesting is that many of my immediate family have what some have called Hispanic or Latino appearances. And also my Grandmother on my Dad side could easily pass for a full blooded Mexican because Ive had some Mexican friends of mine say that. Or even a half blooded Native American. Just thought that maybe the “Unspecified” or “Unassigned” might account for some of it. Just wanted to see what you might take of it?

      • Herman

        On your site it has been stated 2 differing positions whereby a customer getting a signal for Native American Ancestry would or might be hard or unable to detect – 1) Four generations back and 2) Six generations(200 years) back. Can you give a better or offical assestment on 23andme’s conclusion on this subject?
        thanks

        • ScottH

          Herman, The answers are approximations. If you had a full Native American ancestor 200 years ago, we may or may not be able to detect that. Part of the reason for that is that the percentage of Native American Ancestry is reduced with each generation. Because of recombination there is not a precise amount of Native American ancestry that is passed on with each generation. Instead there is a range. So it may be that the signal is lost within a few generations. In general, however, Native American ancestry within the last few generations is likely to reveal itself through our features.

        • Wednesday

          I don’t find Native American DNA that unique that there would be a hard time detecting it. People that do have it in the US, it does show and it shows in Latin Americans. You don’t hear any fuss about Scandinavian DNA, African or East Asian. It is usually with Native American and I think it’s not 23andMe, but people who expect to see a % of Native American. Most times a good hand chunk of people have no documented Indian ancestors on the census or with Indian tribes.
          There was a guy on facebook today with the same argument, he tested 100% Euro with notable Eastern Euro. He said his ancestors look fullblooded Indian and he is part Indian. When I saw the pictures, they looked European. So, I’m not sure what people are using for comparison to gauge American Indian phenotypes.

  • ellen

    okay so mine they do not know anything cuz it says on the standard 11 percent nonspecific europe 42.6 percent nonspecific southern europe so i cant see if im from greece or italy. and then it says 3 percent unassigned so when are they going to better my results because i feel like they just basically told me i was mainly european and like 2 percent other stuff. which is like common sense. i feel that i got my money taken away from me and i’m pissed

    • ScottH

      Ellen,
      What you describe does indeed happen but it is pretty uncommon in people with ancestry in Southern Europe. You might try “speculative” view to see if that changes significantly the assignments that are made. In addition getting a parent or child genotyped will automatically improve the results you get from Ancestry Composition. In the case of a parent you will be able to get a split view and determine from which parent your ancestry different mix of ancestry came. You can also use additional tools to learn more about your ancestry by looking at your DNA Relative matches. This can tell you a lot about your ancestry, but it may take a little more leg work.
      Obviously we wish you were more satisfied with your results. The tool is constantly improving as we draw in more data we can refine the results. Those results are based on sound science. We set the thresholds that determine the results. We’d rather be conservative in how we report back data than to report back something that is incorrect.

  • Ruben

    Dear ScottH,

    I was wondering how accurate the testing with 23andme will be if I test my dna to find out which country my biological father is from? My mother is Dutch and my biological father is unknown, but I have a mixed phenotype, a combination between mena and dutch

    • Ruben

      I would guess, but with 23andme I hope that I will get some clarifications on where my biological father is from. Witch region, country or even more specific.

      • ScottH

        In answer to this and your previous question, the test is very accurate, but you may not get all your questions answered. The Ancestry Composition breaks down your ancestry based on regions, but sometimes it cannot be more specific than “Northern European” or “Southern European.” Individuals who’ve had at least one parent tested and share them, will also get a split view of the ancestry. This can tell them from which parent they got their ancestry. In my case, for example, I received German, French and African ancestry from my mother, and English and Irish ancestry from my father. Because you are male you’ll also see both your maternal and paternal haplogroups. That can tell you a lot about your deeper ancestry. You’ll also see DNA Relative matches which can help you get more clues about your father and his ancestry.

        • Ruben

          Thank you very much for your answer, I will let my mother get one to.
          Let’s say if my father is from somewhere in North-Africa like Algeria for instance. Would I see this in my split results?

        • ScottH

          Ruben, If one of your parents is tested and then you share with them an identify them as your mother or father, we can display your Ancestry Composition in “Split View.” That will show you from which parent your mix of ancestry comes from, breaking down what comes from your father and what comes from your mother.

  • ScottG

    Ive read about how our results get updated and change from time to time. How often dose this happen and how much of our results can change?

    • ScottH

      ScottG,
      We do update and add to our reports fairly regularly. We have a team of scientists who are constantly looking at newly reported genetic associations to see both if we have the coverage and if the science in the studies is strong enough to meet our criteria to report back to customers. We also have a team of researchers who are sorting through our own data looking for associations that we can publish on. The number of reports we give to customers continues to grow.

  • ScottG

    Also has anyone heard about how something called OmniPop can also take information from any kind of DNA test including 23andme and can analyze them with their data base?

  • The Sanity Inspector

    I am a Scot-Irish southern American married to a Korean. Is there a test that could tell us how many generation back our common ancestor lived, and where?

    • ScottH

      No that’s not likely unless you shared a common ancestor within the last 200 years or so. Because of your different ancestry — your European and her Asian ancestry — the two of you probably do not share a common ancestor within recorded history.

  • Herman

    Does a result of 1.0% native american and east asian detected on 3 chromosomes and 4 chrimosomes respecfully really indicate native american blood as accurately and as factually as 14% european results indicates? if so why do many bloggers claim other dna testing companies regard it as just noise?

  • Herman

    In mostly African Americans does a result of 1.0% native american and east asian detected on 3 chromosomes and 4 chrimosomes respecfully really indicate native american blood as accurately and as factually as 14% european results indicates? if so why do many bloggers claim other dna testing companies regard it as just noise?

    • ScottH

      We are very conservative in how we make ancestry assignments. A one percent result is actually a fairly strong signal.

      • ASW

        Hi ScottH,

        Sorry to be a bother but both my identical twin and I have basically the same ancestry composition which makes sense but he has a <0.1% Native American segment that I don't have (only on Speculative, it disappears past that). I'm pretty sure it would be safe to assume that is statistical noise. However, we both a 0.1% South Asian segment that is present on all estimates. Is this most likely noise as well or does it mean something? Thanks a bunch!

        • ScottH

          It would be hard to say whether that is noise or not. It is significant that it shows up in all estimates and it is consistent in both you and your twin. At the same time it is very difficult to say what significance such a low percentage means. It would be helpful to have something from either of your parents to compare to. if either or your mother had a similar but larger segment that obviously would have significance.

      • ASW

        ScottH,

        I appreciate the information! My mother does not have any such segment. I’m assuming my father does but he will never get this test done due to personal reasons. However, I have two South Asian relatives on the Relative Finder. I suppose that may mean something.

  • Mixed Asian

    ScottH,

    any update as to when the new feature will be added so people of East Asian ancestry will have a more thorough breakdown?

    • http://23andme.com Shwu

      Hi Mixed Asian,

      Our scientists are working on expanding this feature to provide additional sub-populations for Asian ancestries and it is in the testing phases now.

  • Juan

    I ordered a kit today, 6/2/13. I’m very interested in the results and can’t wait for the kit to arrive. I have no information on my father and my mom isn’t telling what she knows. Will the kit determine my father’s race and other information about my ancestry from my father’s side?

    • http://23andme.com Shwu

      Hi Juan,

      Welcome to 23andMe! Our Ancestry Composition and DNA Relatives features use DNA that you received from both parents, so yes, those results will reflect ancestry from your father as well as your mother. If your mother has also been tested through 23andMe it is possible to use her results to tell you which ancestry and which relatives are through which parent.

      If you are male, the Paternal Line feature will also be able to tell you about your deep ancestral origins on your father’s side (it traces your father’s father’s father’s etc lineage).

  • ScottG

    Hello! I was wondering why my “Countries of ancestry” are so different from my ancestry percentages? I have a lot of “exotic” countries that aren’t in the ancestral percentages. What does it mean? Thanks!

    • http://23andme.com Shwu

      Hi ScottG,

      The Ancestry Composition is based on data from individuals who trace all of their ancestry to one part of the world, available either in public data sets or through 23andMe’s customer data. Only 23andMe customers that have all four grandparents from one country or region are used, and the countries are only used if there are enough customers with that ancestry to allow us to develop an accurate prediction from that data.

      The Countries of Ancestry feature shows you other 23andMe customers who share segments of DNA with you and the countries that their grandparents are from. They don’t have to have all four grandparents from the same country, so you might see a mix of a few countries for many of these segments, leading to more countries represented overall. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your DNA traces back to all of those places — just that you share some DNA with people who in turn have ancestry from those places.

      Hope this helps!

      • https://twitter.com/maschwab63 Mike Schwab

        I did a search and found a canadian college instruction page. They reported 33-50% of wives cheated, 50-67% of husbands cheated, and 10-10% of children did not share DNA with their father. They instructed their students to identify it as a spontaneous mutation and not identify the household father was not the biological father.

  • Lauren

    Does Ancestry Composition only show your ancestry on your maternal side?

    • http://23andme.com Shwu

      Hi Lauren,

      Ancestry Composition, DNA Relatives, and nearly all of 23andMe’s features draw on genetic information you’ve received from BOTH parents. The only exception to this is the Paternal Line feature, which is based on the Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son. This feature describes a person’s father’s father’s father’s… [etc] ancestry — in other words, just one branch out of hundreds on your family tree.

  • Jay

    I *know* my ancestry, and from where my family originated, yet 23andme did not pick up on a majority of it, but other tests like Dodecad, Eurogenes etc…did. I show West Asian, Native American, Mediterranean, European and African on all of the other calculators and tests, EXCEPT 23andme, which shows 99% European, yet manages to tell me that 75% is unassigned European. Why the discrepancy?

  • JuDee Anderson

    I got more detail from ancestry.com. I am disappointed in 23 and me, especially that they have no way to contact them with questions.

    • ScottH

      JuDee, You can contact us with your questions here.

  • ScottG

    Would there ever be a time when we can see different admixture choices for our results? Like admixtures using different settings beyond the 3 that are currently offered? Im noticing a lot of similar questions from others who know they have more than European, but the results still just show European or Unassigned or unspecific. Especially people who know they have significant Native American DNA or other ancestries. And when 23andme says that our DNA reflects just the last 500 years, does that mean that they are telling us that our admixture only shows where our ancestors lived up to 500 years ago as opposed to where they have actual ancestry from? This could relate particularly with people who have ancestors directly from Europe but are of other ethnicity like European Jews or European Romani (Gypsy). Thank you.

    • ScottH

      ScottG,
      The short answer is no, there aren’t any immediate plans to change the formula for admixture. If you’d like to learn a bit more about the science underpinnings of what was done you can go here. That said we are adding more reference populations from Africa and Asia soon. This will help people get more specific and regional information about their ancestral origins. We may in the future add even more populations and as we add more people to our database the results will improve. That said there is a point of diminishing returns. We most interested in returning accurate results. We do give a caveat that after several generations the signal may get lost because of the nature of recombination. So it may be that a person has say Native American ancestry from several hundred years ago and our test does not detect that.

      • ScottG

        I have heard from people who know that their grandmothers were at least 1/4 Native American and who really showed it and had a look like the traditional Native American with true Asian-like features. But their test showed 0%. How is this explained? And I know that there are families with stories of Native ancestry which may be hundreds of years back. But, there are also people who have immediately significant Native or other ancestries, but the DNA test doesnt show it. Not that that is the most important thing, but with people who are truly interested in finding DNA origins from a scientific and known historic point of view, it is. Also, people who know they are not adopted either, but still dont show certain ethnicity Thank you for your help.

  • ScottG

    Hello! I was wondering if you knew why my wife shows Italian ancestry on her DNA results and I show Sardinian on mine, and neither one of us have any family names that are related to those peoples going back hundreds of years in our genealogy research? We both also show Eastern European and Southern European also. And we have no known ancestry from those places going back many hundreds of years ago.

    • ScottH

      ScottG, I’m not sure I can answer that question. If the results are below 1 percent however that is within the margin of error. Sometimes those percentages are the result of “noise” in the results. If the percentages are greater than that, they are much more likely to be accurate. In that case, all I can say is that people often do not know their full ancestry. For example, even if all of your ancestors are identified as British, it’s certainly possible that a couple of them had ancestry from other places farther back in time, in addition to British ancestry.

  • ScottG

    Hello again. I hope I’m not being annoying (lol). But I just have lots of questions. I have learned that my grandmother on my Dads side is at least 1/4 Native American and possible 1/2 Native American. Also, my grandmother on my mothers side is Metis/Winnebago. However, my DNA test didn’t show any Native ancestry. I’m hoping to get my parents tested soon, but I was just wanting to know why this happens sometimes? I would also like to get my little brother tested as well. I have read where two siblings with the same parents can get totally different DNA results but are full blooded siblings. Just wanting to see what you might think.

    • Wednesday

      I think 23andMe would report if you did. I have a great grandfather of American Indian descent, and I test 3% NA/EA, and he is not fullblooded. Bear in mind this is my only Native American ancestry. My percent is small, but not for nothing, it showed up.

      • Herman

        Wednesday, did you get a % amount for the subgroup pure Native American? I got just .5% for that one with a total of just 1.0% NA/EA. You sure you only had one Native American ancestor?

        • wednesdaysummey

          Hi Heramn

          I received 1.1 Native American and 1.9 Asian, a mix of Asian and Native American. My father has 1.1 Native American and 3% East Asian with 23andMe and Doug McDonald BGA. McDonald, he gives my father has 5% East Asian and Native American except he said the East Asian is Amerindian in Nature. My dad has unassigned segments left blank in AC .7 and if I add that in it comes to 4.6 EA/NA and close to Doug McDonald’s BGA.

          Yes, we are sure, we only have one Native American ancestor, my great grandfather but he was not fullblooded.

        • wednesdaysummey

          Sorry Herman, I meant to say that with 23andMe and Doug, I have 3% EA/NA, while Doug, gives my father 5%. Either way, both tests are similar or very close.

    • Nichole

      My brother and I got slightly different results in our compositions. Especially with the speculative view.

      My DNA did not show Native American as well and we know that my great great grandmother was mixed. She is shown on census records as “Mixed Blood” and on a few others as Creek Indian. She also used to receive some sort of government money from it. So, it’s definitely possibly to not show up in ones results.

  • toshie

    Ok. I have my results on 23andme. Then I added my mom’s sample. Everything stayed the same. Then my grandfather’s sample posted last week. My ancestral composition changed. I now have lost 0.5% south asian and I now have 3.5 percent unassigned Please explain…I

  • Dan Maroney

    Do you do Ireland because my family is Irish. I really don’t want to share very personal and medical information with other companies and/or individuals for genealogy or for other purposes. Your comments…

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