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  • Ethnicity confusion

    Can anyone help to explain confusing Ethnicity / myOrigin results?

    My wife, my son and I have all taken the basic Family Finder test.

    As far as DNA matches go all seems fine (and consistent) but we are completely baffled by the myOrigin results.

    I am, apparently, 65% British, 21% Scandinavian and 14% South European. My wife is 97% British and 3% Middle Eastern. Which is all well and good until we note that my son's origins are apparently - 87% Western and Central European, 12% British and 1% Eastern European.

    I was a mathematician but still can't make any sense of my son's results (and before anyone asks, he is our son and the matches do confirm that!!!).

    Any input welcomed.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Disclaimer: my family uses myOrigins results purely as a conversation starter, and I have no real knowledge about myOrigins internals.

    A shift in your son populations can be partially explained by realizing that Europe is populated by a continuum of populations, so populations in the middle have features that are transitional between the ones at the perimeter.

    Mr. W

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    • #3
      Re: Ethnicity confusion

      myOrigins shows ancestry from times that predate ethnicity.

      Last October, there was a yearly FTDNA conference on Genetic Genealogy. During the conference, Razib Kahn, the person responsible for myOrigins, stated that reference population clusters that are used in myOrigins refer to 1000-10000 years ago, depending on a cluster.

      Please search somewhere around the middle of the page http://www.ancestorcentral.com/decen...tic-genealogy/ for a report on the Razib Kahn presentation.

      Mr. W

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      • #4
        Originally posted by rjmerley View Post
        Can anyone help to explain confusing Ethnicity / myOrigin results?

        My wife, my son and I have all taken the basic Family Finder test.

        As far as DNA matches go all seems fine (and consistent) but we are completely baffled by the myOrigin results.

        I am, apparently, 65% British, 21% Scandinavian and 14% South European. My wife is 97% British and 3% Middle Eastern. Which is all well and good until we note that my son's origins are apparently - 87% Western and Central European, 12% British and 1% Eastern European.

        I was a mathematician but still can't make any sense of my son's results (and before anyone asks, he is our son and the matches do confirm that!!!).

        Any input welcomed.

        Thanks.
        British, Scandinavian and Western/Central European populations are closely related to each other which can make accurate clustering difficult. Suffice to say that you, your wife and your son are all Northwestern Europeans.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rjmerley View Post
          Can anyone help to explain confusing Ethnicity / myOrigin results?

          My wife, my son and I have all taken the basic Family Finder test.

          As far as DNA matches go all seems fine (and consistent) but we are completely baffled by the myOrigin results.

          I am, apparently, 65% British, 21% Scandinavian and 14% South European. My wife is 97% British and 3% Middle Eastern. Which is all well and good until we note that my son's origins are apparently - 87% Western and Central European, 12% British and 1% Eastern European.

          I was a mathematician but still can't make any sense of my son's results (and before anyone asks, he is our son and the matches do confirm that!!!).

          Any input welcomed.

          Thanks.
          Ethnicity calculations are based on AIMs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancest...rmative_marker

          Based on what many family trios have experienced like your family trio and also the difference in the ethnicity results of multiple companies and Gedmatch calculators it is evident that many of the AIMs exist in multiple populations and but a lot of them get identified as belonging to a specific population. Since northern Europeans have shared ancestry from the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2015/10/10/016477 it is harder to separate which AIMs belong to which specific population as opposed to comparing Asians, Native Americans, Sub-Saharan Africans, and Europeans.

          The number of people they have in the reference populations also affects the ethnic calculators because the less they have the less AIMs to compare to. The databases at AncestryDNA and 23andme are larger than the reference populations at 23andme.

          The methodology also affects the outcome of the ethnicity calculator. 23andme seems to have the best when it comes to the methodology since the results with them are much more consistent and more closely match paper genealogy. If you follow the ISOGG Facebook postings you will see 23andme mentioned as the better one more often as well as the forum at 23andme (I do feel at 23andme that they are posting their honest unbiased opinion). Also Cece Moore and Tim Janzen have reported 23andme to be the best one also in a new article comparing the different companies. Ann Turner reported 23andme and to be the closest to her genealogical trail also in another post. I have also found 23andme to also be the one that most closely matches my genealogy and that of relatives and those of people of the same ethnicities that have posted their results or shared them with me. 23andme is also more consistent with the results of those people.

          As far as your wife's 97% British and 3% Middle Eastern. It seems that a lot Europeans without a paper trail to a Middle Eastern ancestor get a small amount of Middle Eastern at FTDNA. For most of those cases it is almost definitely an ancient portion from more than 2,000 years from AIMs that exist in both Middle Easterners and Europeans that FTDNA has labeled Middle Eastern.

          I don't think most people are interested in what is common in people from more than 2,000 years ago. They are more interested in what is more recent especially when we can get more ancient calculations from Gedmatch for free.

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