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Thread: How often do white Americans have any black ancestry?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by msmarjoribanks View Post
    I never get any (other than at MyHeritage currently, heh), but the numbers from that study referenced in the first post don't surprise me. However, it's really clear that numbers below 1% are often statistical noise (I don't get SSA, but I do often get about .5 Oceanian, which I'm sure is not real), so 0.1% I'd ignore. If you saw 1% consistently on different calculators, maybe, although I often get 1-1.5% Amerindian and still doubt it's real (although I'd find it exciting if it were -- and with those numbers I admit that reaction would be irrational).

    It is, of course, true that more of us could have African American ancestors and no DNA results, since long enough ago you have plenty of ancestors who don't leave a genetic trace.
    Very true we all have so many blood related ancestors that don't leave any genetic trace in us! Something a lot of people probably don't think about.

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  3. #12
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    I have some Colonial American Appalachian ancestry, and I have neither SSA or American Indian. I guess that last part makes me a bit of an outcast. LOL

    edited: MYHeritage keeps changing my results a day after they're posted, giving me 1.3% Nigerian.

  4. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onur Dincer View Post
    0.1% Sub-Saharan indeed seems to be statistical noise. But of course you can check on GEDmatch whether that chromosomal segment is shared with your relatives with African American ancestry to be sure.
    GEDMatch K13 gives me 0.16 SSA; that amount I assume is a statistical noise percentage and it doesn't appear on my K13 pie chart. As far as I know I have no relatives with SSA ancestry to ask for guidance.

    Neither the present myOrigins algorithm or it's predecessor gives me any SSA at all. But no telling what the next version will do.

    What I have noticed when running kits through K13 is those who have no measurable SSA will oftentimes have a high enough Amerindian hit to place that on their chart even when they say they have no Native American ancestry. Would this be vagaries in European genetics?

    edit: I notice you mention <0.1% is considered statistical noise. That's 1/10 of one percent., or in decimal notation 0.001. I always assumed statistical noise was <1.0%, or whole number one percent, decimal notation 0.01. Both versions of my myOrigins came back as 98% European, for example, and neither assigned SSA to the errant 2%, of which <2% was assigned to one single population the first time and two this second time, but with <1% to one and <2% to the other now. So that makes 3%, which gives my myOrigins the total grand sum of 101%. That's wonderful, and it also means that trace readings like that are difficult if not impossible to measure or read. Hence, I believe you meant to write "1.0%" rather than "0.1%."

    The explanation Family Tree uses now is: "A trace percentage indicates a very small amount of shared DNA in common with the corresponding population. In some cases this minor percentage could be attributed to background noise." But, again, the term "background noise" is so extreme when used in this context. I just found this, which is good in layman terms for once but I don't know how old it is: http://dnaseq.ucdavis.edu/Troubleshooting.html

    Maybe a good rule-of-thumb is that when a result is so infinitesimally fractional it can be assumed to be static and background noise rather than a reliable product. That UCD article gives a good description of how a term like static, usually used to describe bad radio or TV reception, can be used in a science like genetic results.

    "Dirty DNA," that's the first time I've seen that phrase. Right, that's me, dirty DNA through-and-through.
    Last edited by curiousII; 02-12-2018 at 03:15 PM. Reason: fixed it
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  5. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by poster15 View Post
    According to ancestry.com 3.5% of white Americans have at least 1% black ancestry. In the South about 10% of people are at least 1% black.
    I think that came from 23andMe data, not Ancestry.com: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/...many-americans

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289685/

    One thing I was wondering is how common it is for a white American to have any black ancestry, even if it's less than 1%. And yes I was wondering because I got 0.1% sub-Saharan on my test and was wondering if it was statistical noise.
    Probably just noise. It's not unusual for people with Mediterranean ancestry to get results in North Africa, but 0.1% SSA in someone European, especially northern European, sounds like a fluke/noise to me.

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  7. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by curiousII View Post
    What I have noticed when running kits through K13 is those who have no measurable SSA will oftentimes have a high enough Amerindian hit to place that on their chart even when they say they have no Native American ancestry. Would this be vagaries in European genetics?
    Very likely so. In Europe distance to East Eurasians and Amerindians and distance to Sub-Saharan Africans are inversely correlated.

    edit: I notice you mention <0.1% is considered statistical noise. That's 1/10 of one percent., or in decimal notation 0.001. I always assumed statistical noise was <1.0%, or whole number one percent, decimal notation 0.01. Both versions of my myOrigins came back as 98% European, for example, and neither assigned SSA to the errant 2%, of which <2% was assigned to one single population the first time and two this second time, but with <1% to one and <2% to the other now. So that makes 3%, which gives my myOrigins the total grand sum of 101%. That's wonderful, and it also means that trace readings like that are difficult if not impossible to measure or read. Hence, I believe you meant to write "1.0%" rather than "0.1%."
    I said that in response to the original poster, who said that he shows 0.1% SSA in his Ancestry test. I did not mean that it was the upper limit for statistical noise. The upper limit varies according to the test and is generally around 1% as you say.
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