DNA Test for Ethnicity

Huntn

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Recently my wife did the DNA test available through Ancestry.com ($99). The result is very interesting and I plan on getting one done for myself. The report includes a map of dna hits, generic sample below:



However a disclaimer is that the report is probably much more beneficial if you've paid for their membership and can research member hits. My wife's report includes 7 pages of people she is related to who I assume are registered at Ancestry.com, primarily 3rd and 4th cousins. I'm not familiar with other DNA testing available and the comparative scope of such reports.

One thing that puzzled me is that I expected classifications to be racial, but instead were labels designating locations such as Western Europe, Northern Africa, Iberian Peninsula, etc. I was surprised that they don't focus on race at all. The report included one designator, American Indian which identifies a location and I assumed would include a Mongoloid/Asian designator, but it does not. Just like I thought Western Europe would also include Caucasian, but it does not.

This Ancestry.com article describes how they (Ancestry.com) determine "genetic ethnicity.

Of possible interest to some of you is this article: How Many Major Races Are There?.

Depending on the source, there are 3 or 4 races, however based on DNA, classifications based on traditional racial appearance seem to be less meaningful then originally thought.

All men of whatever race are currently classified by the anthropologist or biologist as belonging to the one species, Homo sapiens.This is another way of saying that the differences between human races are not great, even though they may appear so, i.e. black vs white skin. All races of mankind in the world can interbreed because they have so much in common. All races share 99.99+% of the same genetic materials which means that division of race is largely subjective, and that the original 3-5 races were also probably just subjective descriptions as well.
The article continues with a very interesting debunking of the theory that race is biologically based.

By . . .”biological race,” I mean the view of race espoused by Judge Tucker, and still popular today, that there exist natural, physical divisions among humans that are hereditary, reflected in morphology, and roughly but correctly captured by terms like Black, White, and Asian (or Negroid, Caucasoid, and Mongoloid).
However:

There are no genetic characteristics possessed by all Blacks but not by non- Blacks; similarly, there is no gene or cluster of genes common to all Whites but not to non-Whites. One’s race is not determined by a single gene or gene cluster, as is, for example, sickle cell anemia. Nor are races marked by important differences in gene frequencies, the rates of appearance of certain gene types. The data compiled by various scientists demonstrates, contrary to popular opinion, that intra-group differences exceed inter-group differences. That is, greater genetic variation exists within the populations typically labeled Black and White than between these populations. This finding refutes the supposition that racial divisions reflect fundamental genetic differences.
So I think I now understand why the DNA tests are focused on genetic ethnicity instead of race identifiers. :)
 
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obeygiant

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I keep hearing ads on the radio for this. I am in NY and at the end it sounds like there are restrictions in this state. I wouldn't mind doing this or through the one the OP mentioned.
My buddy did it last year and he was very happy with it. I guess you have to fill a good sized container with saliva. I put an order in a couple days ago for my wife and I. I'll try to post how things went when I get the results back.
 
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TheAppleFairy

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My buddy did it last year and he was very happy with it. I guess you have to fill a good sized container with saliva. I put an order in a couple days ago for my wife and I. I'll try to post how things went when I get the results back.

I think my family a mixture of nordic mostly. I heard there is some Native American, but I doubt it. It's probably the same stories that Elizabeth Warren was told. My wife's from Japan and I wonder how the system breaks down her heritage.
 

obeygiant

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I think my family a mixture of nordic mostly. I heard there is some Native American, but I doubt it. It's probably the same stories that Elizabeth Warren was told. My wife's from Japan and I wonder how the system breaks down her heritage.
My wife is Japanese as well; it'll be interesting to see what the test says. I'll let you know.
 
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Jbenn425

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I've been looking at the 23andme test for a couple of weeks now. I think I'll bite the bullet and get it. Not just for the ethnicity aspect of it, but for the medical information as well. I think it's amazing that we have the technology to do that.
 

mobilehaathi

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How accurate are these test and is there any benefit other than satisfying your curiosity?
Well, I'm not sure what you mean by accuracy, but perhaps you're interested in the geographic resolution? In this case, you'll get good results to the sub-continental level several generations back. It it worth noting that these are companies selling you a product. I have experience with 23andme, and in my (informed) opinion they are slightly overstating some of the very fine scale (geographic) admixture results. There just isn't enough power given the genotyping they do. This could easily change in the future.

Broader descriptions of longer term general migration patterns are reasonably accurate, but can't be personalized beyond the population level.

The disease risk information is interesting but subject to revision as more research is completed. In my opinion the majority of those results are not yet applicable in a general clinical context. It is also worth considering the psychological impact of knowing what diseases you might be at increased risk for.

I don't know much about what information ancestry.com gives, so I can't comment here.

As for benefit, I suppose that's a personal question.

Hope that helps!
 
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Huntn

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How accurate are these test and is there any benefit other than satisfying your curiosity?
How about discovering the other half of a parent's family? My wife's mother, did not know who her father is. After getting the test, and researching mostly on ancestry.com she (my wife) has discovered a family that's been around since the beginning of the country, related to Washington. :)
 
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Old Muley

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As the late Frank Zappa once said:

"You are what you is
You is what you am
(A cow don't make ham . . . )
You ain't what you're not
So see what you got
You are what you is
An' that's all it 'tis "
 

Huntn

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Does anyone have experience seeking connections on Ancestry.com after taking a DNA test? I'm going to call Ancestry.com today and ask them directly, but thought I'd also post my question here just in case someone is familiar.

My wife is currently in the process of researching who her Grandfather is on her Mom's side (neither she, nor her Mom knows). The person who knows, her Grandmother who has passed, would not reveal this info for whatever the reason.

I'm asking about Ancestry.com because when you do a DNA test there, you are rewarded with a list of matches. My impression is that when you do a DNA test, you get matches based on other people who have done DNA tests with Ancestry.com. Once you get a match, you can proceed to their tree and matches there are not necessarily based on DNA but on the pedigree of the tree, i.e. the trail of surnames. (need to verify)

The highest matches on her list are 3rd cousins. However when you go to a "match" family tree, it does not appear that you can simply ask it to show you whom you are most related to on a particular tree. As you click on each name, it reveals if you have a match and how strong a match it is. I've not done this research yet, (plan to get a DNA test in the near future), but I would think it would not be that hard to include this capability, unless it is something we've overlooked.

The complication is that not all trees are complete and trees may not be completely accurate. Thoughts?
 
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oddnendz

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Here is a link to the National Geographics Genographic Project.

https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/

One of its goals is to track the migration of people in the past through genetic markers.

Genetics Overview

Differences between Ancestry.com/23andMe/Genographic Project:

I've had my DNA tested through other genetic testing sites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe. How do my Genographic Project results differ from theirs, and why?

The Genographic Project is a research project of the National Geographic Society, which encompasses work carried out by our scientific team to elucidate new patterns of human migration, as well as public testing through the participation kits. Our testing focuses on deep ancestry from an anthropological perspective. It is not primarily a genealogy testing service, such as that offered by Ancestry.com, although you do have the option of seeing how you are related to other participants in the Our Story section. 23andMe is primarily a medically focused testing company, examining markers that are associated with disease risk. While they do offer some insights into ancestry, that is not their primary focus. The genetic technology we use for our testing is a custom-designed genotyping chip optimized for the study of ancestry, with far more Y-chromosome and mtDNA markers than are available with any other test. Our autosomal markers are similarly optimized for inferring ancestry, rather than medical testing, and we feel that it is the best technology available for this purpose.
 

Huntn

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Huntn

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It is really tricky when you are searching for a link to an unknown grand parent. The closest links my wife has are to 3rd cousins, but due to the nature of 3rd cousins, this too is tricky. Depending on the relationship, a common grand father could be 2 or 5 generations above you.
 

TheAppleFairy

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Ancestry.com's tests are good. See their pitch on the link. I don't know what other sites offer, but AC's advantage seems to be a base to compare family trees.
I see their commercials on TV often (Ancestry.com) and it looks really interesting. It is something I want to do at some point in time that's for sure.

I know 23andme.com was brought up early in this thread. I thought it was interesting that after 5 years they are being stopped.
 

Cooknn

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Does anyone have experience seeking connections on Ancestry.com after taking a DNA test? I'm going to call Ancestry.com today and ask them directly, but thought I'd also post my question here just in case someone is familiar.
My dad's cousin did the 67 marker Y-chromosome test with FamilyTreeDNA.com We found a match that was 65/67 markers and were able to e-mail them for access to their private family tree on Ancestry.com. My last name is Cook. Theirs is Koch. They have verifiable ancestors all the way back to the late 1600's in Germany. Amazing information. I also uploaded that data to the National Geographics Genographic Project which matched our DNA all the way back to Cro-Magnon :eek:
 

Huntn

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I see their commercials on TV often (Ancestry.com) and it looks really interesting. It is something I want to do at some point in time that's for sure.

I know 23andme.com was brought up early in this thread. I thought it was interesting that after 5 years they are being stopped.
My wife is trying to figure out who her Grandfather is. I'll say no more about the circumstances other than her Mother does not know either. This test produced a list of four 3rd cousins, and a bunch of 4th cousins. With this, she has discovered she is related to all sorts of famous family lines (historically speaking) people like Washington, Franklin, and that go back to a King and a Queen. This is based on a combination of being linked to someone else who took a DNA test and then to their tree.

Considering before she took this test she knew nothing about her Mother's side of the family so she is a bit overwhelmed. The way Ancestry.com works if the person makes their tree public, if a person on the tree is listed as deceased, you can see data for them, however if the person is listed as alive, it defaults to private. And some people opt to make their trees private, so you can't see anything on them. In that case you have to email them and ask for access, which you may or may not get. This can be a bit touchy when you go to identify someone who was out there sewing their wild oats producing unofficial off spring. ;)

But for the sake of research, Ancestry.com recommends you make your tree public and the privacy of anyone alive will still be protected. What I've known about family trees, they are as only as good as the author and research, but DNA does not lie.... this is why it's so valuable. :)

My wife is lucky because the trees she is connected to via DNA have extensive published historical histories, and their family members have it all up on the site for viewing. She has narrowed down potential Grandfather candidates down to 3 or 4. It is interesting.

My dad's cousin did the 67 marker Y-chromosome test with FamilyTreeDNA.com We found a match that was 65/67 markers and were able to e-mail them for access to their private family tree on Ancestry.com. My last name is Cook. Theirs is Koch. They have verifiable ancestors all the way back to the late 1600's in Germany. Amazing information. I also uploaded that data to the National Geographics Genographic Project which matched our DNA all the way back to Cro-Magnon :eek:
I don't know if they still offer all those tests. What I see when I go to Ancestry.com's site is a $99 test that is listed as a beta. This is what I plan on doing this coming month for myself.
 

TheAppleFairy

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Well good luck to your wife. Everytime someone does this test there is a greater chance your wife will find out. The more people that jump on this the better. I can see privacy being of concern for people though.

I am sure these companies have strict confidentiality policies, but I can see the government wanting them to hand over their records at some point, or the NSA getting involved with collecting their website data.

I think I will do this within the next 6 months or so. My wife and kids are in Japan until mid-March, maybe I will get my wife to do it as well when she gets back.



My wife is trying to figure out who her Grandfather is. I'll say no more about the circumstances other than her Mother does not know either. This test produced a list of four 3rd cousins, and a bunch of 4th cousins. With this, she has discovered she is related to all sorts of famous family lines (historically speaking) people like Washington, Franklin, and that go back to a King and a Queen. This is based on a combination of being linked to someone else who took a DNA test and then to their tree.

Considering before she took this test she knew nothing about her Mother's side of the family so she is a bit overwhelmed. The way Ancestry.com works if the person makes their tree public, if a person on the tree is listed as deceased, you can see data for them, however if the person is listed as alive, it defaults to private. And some people opt to make their trees private, so you can't see anything on them. In that case you have to email them and ask for access, which you may or may not get. This can be a bit touchy when you go to identify someone who was out there sewing their wild oats producing unofficial off spring. ;)

But for the sake of research, Ancestry.com recommends you make your tree public and the privacy of anyone alive will still be protected. What I've known about family trees, they are as only as good as the author and research, but DNA does not lie.... this is why it's so valuable. :)

My wife is lucky because the trees she is connected to via DNA have extensive published historical histories, and their family members have it all up on the site for viewing. She has narrowed down potential Grandfather candidates down to 3 or 4. It is interesting.



I don't know if they still offer all those tests. What I see when I go to Ancestry.com's site is a $99 test that is listed as a beta. This is what I plan on doing this coming month for myself.
 

Cooknn

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I don't know if they still offer all those tests. What I see when I go to Ancestry.com's site is a $99 test that is listed as a beta. This is what I plan on doing this coming month for myself.
Take a look at FamilyTreeDNA.com. They are the best of the bunch, IMHO. Here is a direct link to the Y-DNA67 test that I mentioned. It's pricey, but much more in depth than the others from what I've read.
 

Huntn

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Take a look at FamilyTreeDNA.com. They are the best of the bunch, IMHO. Here is a direct link to the Y-DNA67 test that I mentioned. It's pricey, but much more in depth than the others from what I've read.
Maybe at some point it will make a difference who you do your DNA test through as far as being connected to one data base or another. My impression is that the Ancestry.com's DNA test provides links to everyone else who has tested through them. I imagine FamilyTreeDNA has their own database. The FamilyTreeDNA link mentions 37 markers. The Ancestry.com test mentions 700,000 markers, but from a practical standpoint, I don't know how significant this is. The Family Tree DNA test could be mentioning 37 specialized markers among 100s of thousands. It appears hard to compare apples to apples.

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Well good luck to your wife. Everytime someone does this test there is a greater chance your wife will find out. The more people that jump on this the better. I can see privacy being of concern for people though.

I am sure these companies have strict confidentiality policies, but I can see the government wanting them to hand over their records at some point, or the NSA getting involved with collecting their website data.

I think I will do this within the next 6 months or so. My wife and kids are in Japan until mid-March, maybe I will get my wife to do it as well when she gets back.
I've told her she just might have to be content knowing she is connected to these other families, but obviously it would be better to have a name.