Ancestry - Frequently asked questions

Why my results show a different ancestry composition than other services or my known ancestry?

Our results are based on a science that statistically tries to infer the maximum genetic similarity with modern world populations. The algorithm has been designed to offer an accurate result, but sometimes it may differ from other companies as we classify the ethnic groups based in our specific methodology.

Our algorithm can pick up some older or overlapped ancestries. Sometimes, people from the same region share a common history, so their genetics are so similar that makes hard to accurately identify them. For example, British ancestry may show up as French or Scandinavian and the otherwise too.

What is the reference database used to analyze my ancestry?

We have defined 38 world regions brokendown in 200 genetic populations. The genetic populations have been retrieved from well-known and scientific biobanks:

  • 1000Genomes
  • HGDP
  • Scientific Papers publicly available (Cell, Nature, PubMed papers)

World Regions:

  • Anatolian
  • Balkan
  • British Isles (U.K. Á Rep. of Ireland)
  • Caucasian
  • Central African
  • Central Asian
  • Chinese (Han)
  • Cypriot
  • East African
  • East Asian
  • Eastern European
  • Egyptian
  • Ethiopian
  • Finnish
  • Gujarati
  • Iberian
  • Indian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Levant
  • Mesopotamian
  • Mongolian
  • Native American
  • Nigerian
  • North African
  • Northwestern European
  • Pacific Islanders
  • Pakistan
  • Peninsular Arab
  • Sardinian
  • Scandinavian
  • Senegambian
  • Siberian
  • South Central Indian
  • Southeast African
  • Southeast Asian
  • Vietnamese
  • West African
How often the ancestry reports are updated?

Our goal is to update the ancestry report twice a year. Whenever the ancestry report is updated, you will received an email and the report will display the date when it was updated.

What is the difference between the "Recent Ancestry" and "Shared Origins" reports?

The "Recent Ancestry" report estimates your genetic similarity with modern populations to find ancestors in the last 500 years.

The "Shared Origins" report estimates an ancient shared origin. Two ethnicities may have a shared origin back way back in time (> 1.000 years ago) or some recent ancestry. So, you will score many percentages related to a shared origin, although it does not mean, you descend from this population, but there was a common population from which you shared a common ancient origin. For example, Native Americans share a common origin with Siberians, Mongolians and East Asians, due to back in time the first settlers in America were Asians that migrated to those lands.

What percentage can be considered inherited from a real ancestor from the specified region?

We are very confident on our algorithm, but we are honest and we strongly recommend carrying out genealogy research, building up a genealogy tree based upon actual birth, marriage, and death records from your ancestors.

We would like to mention that sometimes a heritage can be considered real when it shows up in a big figure and the region is from a very distinctive heritage. For instance, your known ancestry is only European, and you score more than 5% Native American, then you can suspect that there was an ancestor from America not so far back in time.

Consider that people may score a minor percentage from other regions than the ones they may know. This can be just an ancestral overlap that occurs among populations that shares a common history, not just recent, but ancient history.

What is a genetic similarity?

From a scientific point of view, your DNA may match DNA from different populations of the world. There is not a specific DNA from a region, but similarities. So, we try to find the most similar genetic population that resembles your DNA.

Are the regions shown on the map be an accurate definition of the region?

The regions shown on the map are solely intended to be used as a visual help to understand what region our test is mainly testing. Some regions may not cover areas that are supposed to be part of that region.

Why the countries listed in the regions section doesn’t line up with my known ancestry?

Our test tries to find your genetic affinity / similarity with populations within the specified region. Sometimes, your genetic may “looks” closer to the average people from another region.

Please, do not use the country estimation to trace your heritage, because we are identifying genetic similarities, not where your ancestors come from.

How can I extend my knowledge about my ancestry heritage?

We encourage everyone to learn about modern population recent history. This is the best way to understand your heritage and how modern populations arrived at the places where they live now.

There are no pure ethnic population, but they are a big mix of historical events (wars, trading, human migrations…) that conforms their modern genetic structure.

Why my phenotypes (hair, eyes, skin color mainly) does not match my know ancestry?

People from the same populations share a lot of the same genotypes and therefore, they share some common traits and phenotypes. But a common trait does not mean other looks / traits are not related to the same ancestry, they do.

Humans loves to classify people by how the looks alike. This classification makes, for instance, the common northwestern European phenotype classified as a human with fair skin color, fair brown to blondie hair color. But one also can find people with darker features that are more common in southern Europeans, and the otherwise around, people from southern Europe that looks alike northwestern Europeans.

So, if you do not “look” / share the same phenotype as the people from your region / country, it does not mean that you have a heritage from the other side of the World, but just you inherited an ancestral feature that is less common in your region.

Remember that Genotype (your "floorplan" design) and Phenotypes (the house already built) are two different things, but they are strongly related. Phenotypes are expressed since you are on the womb of your mother and affected my what you eat, where you live, what you experience,...

Why I don’t get a MTDNA or YDNA haplogroups prediction?

Our service can predict your MTDNA and YDNA haplogroups based upon the DNA markers (SNPs) present in your DNA file. Some companies provide this information in their DNA file, but some others provide a partial or no information at all.

The companies that provide a good quality set of MTDNA and YDNA haplogroups DNA markers (SNPs) are:

  • 23andme
  • TellMeGen

The companies that provide a low-quality set of MTDNA and YDNA haplogroups DNA markers (SNPs) are:

  • Ancestry
  • MyHeritage (only YDNA)

The companies that do not provide any MTDNA or YDNA haplogroups DNA markers (SNPs) at all are:

  • FTDNA

If your DNA file does not contain any MTDNA or YDNA haplogroups DNA markers (SNPs), the report will show a message stating it.

The report contains a quality score along your haplogroups to indicate if the prediction is accurate or not.

What can I do to get a better MTDNA or YDNA haplogroups prediction?

You have two options to get a better MTDNA or YDNA haplogroup prediction:

  1. Test on a company that provides a good quality set of haplogroup DNA marker:
    1. 23andme
    2. TellMeGen
  1. Test on a company that provide a deep haplogroup prediction such as the follows:
    1. FTDNA BigY (YDNA) or FMS (MTDNA)
    2. Dante Labs *
    3. Nebula *

*these companies offer full genome services

Do my DNA changes over time and it may affect the results?

No, your DNA does not change, so if you test today and 20 years later, your genetic file will be the same.

What is the best DNA file to upload to your service?

Although our service is designed to work and accept any DNA file from any company, our algorithm best performs in the latest genotyping platforms used by the main companies.

We recommend uploading a file from Illumina GSA genochip. This genochip is currently used (Jan 2021) by the following DNA companies:

  • 23andme V5 (since Sept. 2017)
  • FTDNA (since Feb. 2019)
  • MyHeritage V2 (since Feb. 2019)
  • LivingDNA *

* It is not Illumina GSA, but the DNA markers have a high overlap with the Illumina GSA's.

Can the number of neanderthals variants be different depending on the DNA file?

Yes, the number of DNA markers (SNPs) associated to the neanderthal genome depends on the DNA markers read and available in the DNA file.