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Thread: 23andme Results, do they underestimate or overlook certain ethnicities?

  1. #1

    23andme Results, do they underestimate or overlook certain ethnicities?

    Hello all, new members here. I just got my 23andme results back recently (took a quick 7 days to get my results back). My maternal grandmother tested and has 37.5% South Asian (I suspect she's got a little more than that however) and me about 6%. I went to Wegene and they estimated about the same amount of South Asian as her 23andme results but mine went to a whooping 15% and even suggested I have 5.2% Middle Eastern (2 of my cousin's on my paternal side of the family scored a small bit of Middle Eastern on 23andme). I don't really look at the European portion as we all know Wegene isn't catered to European people. My question is does 23andme ever underestimate South Asian or even any Asian ancestry? I even tried Gencove and the percentages for South Asian and East Asian are similar to what's on 23andme (overall numbers are a little different). Do they ever call Central or West Asian ancestry European even if that ancestry is actually Asian? My grandma who's from India and I have very similar Central Asian percentages (she's at 9% and I'm at 10%). What I do know about my ethnic background is that I'm English from both maternal grandparents (apparently grandma's more Irish than English however), mainly German, East European and Italian from my dad's side.

    My paternal grandmother who's Italian claimed there are French and Native American ancestors in the family tree even though I doubt this is true based on our DNA results (do suspect she might have something else like Middle Eastern as I mentioned earlier based on my cousins' results and the mtDNA group they have [H2a1]). On GEDMatch my West Asian results on Eurogenes is about 12% and literally every Oracle 4 calculator on GEDMatch puts me at 25% of some kind of East, South, or West Asian (I think 1 put 2 of my 4 population estimates as Turkish and some other central Asian group).

    I apologize if this is lengthy for a newbie post!

    23andme results

    -British & Irish

    -French & German


    -Eastern European



    -Ashkenazi Jewish

    -Broadly Northwestern European

    -Broadly Southern European

    -Broadly European

    South Asian

    East Asian & Native American
    -Southeast Asian
    -Broadly East Asian
    -Broadly East Asian & Native American

    Sub-Saharan African


    Northern and Central Europe 35%

    Northeast Europe 20%

    Northern Italy 19%

    Central Asia 10%

    Southeast Asia 5%

    Central Indian subcontinent 3%

    Ashkenazi Jewish 2%

    Scandinavia 3%

    Finland 2%

    Southern Indian subcontinent 1%

  2. #2

    23andMe's speculative mode greatly overestimates major components, and underestimates minor components. This is due to their methodology of snipping the genome into 100 SNP segments to compare against the limited references they have. So for example, if 60% of the the segment indicates Middle Eastern, and 40% indicates S Asian, that segment is assigned 100% Middle Eastern. In effect 40% of the segment, which is S Asian is ignored, and the whole segment is assigned Middle-Eastern.

    Also, their methodology includes segment smoothing, which means if there are chunks of minor components in a segment, they are ignored.
    I don't know if this applies to current 23andme methods, but it's interesting nonetheless.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to ianz91 For This Useful Post:

     digital_noise (05-24-2018)

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