View Full Version : Ancestry DNA 1-2% foreign DNA in Europeans

Salz und Licht
08-23-2017, 03:47 AM
So I had my mom do a 23andme and an Ancestry DNA test a few years ago, these are her results

Asia 1%

Asia central 1%

Europe 98%

Ireland 50%
Europe West 23%
Scandinavia 11%
Europe East 7%
Italy Greece 6%
Great Britian 1%

West Asia 1%


So my question is, how uncommon is it for people of European descent and no non-European connections such as White American to be 98-99% European, rather than 100%? Is 1% Asia central noise or is it real? What does the 1% Caucasus and 1% Asia central really mean? Can 98% European be consistent with a 100% German heritage? Or would it have to mean that someone was not German in the family tree?

08-23-2017, 03:58 AM
During the Bronze Age, a wave of migration occurred from the Caucasus and Anatolia that would have brought the "Caucasus" component, which is also called CHG (Caucasus Hunter-Gatherer). It is most strongly present in Italy, Balkans, and the islands (Sicily, Crete, etc.) but surely traces of it would exist in all of Europe. It is not really a "foreign" component to Europe even though it is labeled as such on these tests.

08-23-2017, 05:31 AM
People take Ancestry's estimates too literally. You can't entirely blame them, since Ancestry itself advertises this way.

Consider the guy who switched from lederhosen to a kilt, just because of his Ancestry results. His name is Kyle Merker, and he admits that Merker is actually a German name; and that his mother's maiden name of Zimmerman is also a German name.

Yet, here's what he says about his results from Ancestry.

52% British Isles, 28% Scandinavia, 10% Western European. So I thought the 10% must have been German. But it was Greek and Italian. No German whatsoever.

Apparently, he didn't bother to consider that 49% of "typical natives" of the Europe West region (the region that includes German) have some "Great Britain". But here's what Ancestry actually says about the component they call "Great Britain":

Primarily located in: England, Scotland, Wales
Also found in: Ireland, France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Italy

So while Kyle presumes that 100% of his "Great Britain" component must actually be from Great Britain, that isn't what Ancestry says. At least some part of his "Great Britain" could have come from his Merker or Zimmermann ancestors. This is also true for his "Scandinavia" component:

Primarily located in: Sweden, Norway, Denmark
Also found in: Great Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, the Baltic States, Finland

The funny thing is that the average amount of "Europe West" which shows up in "typical natives" of the region (according to Ancestry) is actually just 48%, not 100%! But my quibble isn't so much with Kyle Merker finding out that he has British ancestry, but with his deciding he has "no German whatsoever" when even Ancestry points out that other components that just "Europe West" appear among "natives" of the region.

In fact, to bring things back to the point of this thread, about 1% of "typical natives" of Europe West show some amount of "Caucasus". That isn't a very high percentage, but it does mean the component is present in the region. They don't say how much "Caucasus" shows up, but if it is much less than 1% in any individual, it probably isn't going to be reported at all.

About 1% of "typical natives" of the Great Britain region also have some amount of "Caucasus". If you want to see this for yourself, just click on the Great Britain component and then click "See details". Once you do that, you should see a page with two tabs: "Region History" and "Genetic Diversity". Go ahead and look at these. I think you'll find them very informative. https://www.ancestry.com/dna/origins/DD9853DB-6ADF-44BA-9DB9-4491BCC22C18/ethnicity/AngloSaxon/history

Salz und Licht
08-23-2017, 01:01 PM
I'm not looking for pinpoints, I just took the test to find out if I'm white. If you have ancestry from anywhere in Europe, it can be labeled as anywhere in Europe. If you are for example French it may show Europe West, Great Britian and even Europe East or Scandinavian or a mix of each. Same for Germans, British or all Europeans. All one should care about is does it get the continent right. If you are German, Irish and French in heritage all you should really care is that it is 100% European. Eastern European is consistent with German ancestry, and even Italy/Greece (though only small percentages like less than 10%). Asia central however, is not. If 1% of the people from Europe have any amount of it, that says it is present, but at the same time, very uncommon.