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Thread: Significance of minor Middle Eastern ancestry among Europeans in DNA testing

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    Significance of minor Middle Eastern ancestry among Europeans in DNA testing

    When it comes to minor percentages of Middle Eastern DNA among those of European descent in DNA testing, how do you tell if the middle eastern ancestry is recent (as in a legit middle eastern relative) vs ancient middle east ancestry from thousands of years ago? I've seen people who are of British descent yet they score 1-3% Middle Eastern on DNA tests and sites like Gedmatch, but it's not clear if such ancestry is ancient admixture or recent from an actual middle eastern relative in the family tree. I've seen many White Americans of mixed Euro descent, confused as to why they score little amounts of Caucasus or middle east on Ancestry, etc. How does one go about determining if such ancestry is significant and worthy of genealogical research vs not focusing on it too much since it's from ancient admixture?

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    There is no significance, the overwhelming majority of Europeans have no Middle Eastern ancestry. Don't take GEDmatch calculators seriously and I doubt Americans of Northern European descent score Caucasus or Middle East on AncestryDNA.

    Not all DNA tests will say the same thing to you, they measure different kinds of ancestry, some are more much reliable to find actual genealogical relations than others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caius Agrippa View Post
    There is no significance, the overwhelming majority of Europeans have no Middle Eastern ancestry. Don't take GEDmatch calculators seriously and I doubt Americans of Northern European descent score Caucasus or Middle East on AncestryDNA.

    Not all DNA tests will say the same thing to you, they measure different kinds of ancestry, some are more much reliable to find actual genealogical relations than others.
    Europeans along the eastern Mediterranean have significant post-Neolithic ME admix (and I suppose southwesterns as well, to a smaller extent). And of course, if one has an appreciable amount of Jewish ancestry, there's some West Asian coming into the mix as well. But yes, indeed these services Often assign bits of MENA to many people who probably don't have any that is not ancient. My father is a man of mostly German, Danish, moderate Irish ancestry, and the latest 23andMe update has him as having 0.6% Egyptian...I am quite sure in his instance, that percentage is just "noise" or some such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AbideInLove View Post
    Europeans along the eastern Mediterranean have significant post-Neolithic ME admix (and I suppose southwesterns as well, to a smaller extent). And of course, if one has an appreciable amount of Jewish ancestry, there's some West Asian coming into the mix as well. But yes, indeed these services Often assign bits of MENA to many people who probably don't have any that is not ancient. My father is a man of mostly German, Danish, moderate Irish ancestry, and the latest 23andMe update has him as having 0.6% Egyptian...I am quite sure in his instance, that percentage is just "noise" or some such.
    I am talking about Germans, Austrians, British, Scandinavians, Poles etc. These people have no Middle Eastern ancestry. And in terms of meaningful genealogical relationships even Eastern Mediterraneans do not have Middle Eastern ancestry. It is part of their ''deep'' genetic make-up, but none of them could actually find an actual Middle Eastern ancestor. The genetic relationship between Europe and the Middle East was basically closed at the beginning of the modern era, I think pretty much all European ethnicities were formed by 1500.

    0.6% is an irrelevant percentage and could very well be statistical noise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aiden View Post
    When it comes to minor percentages of Middle Eastern DNA among those of European descent in DNA testing, how do you tell if the middle eastern ancestry is recent (as in a legit middle eastern relative) vs ancient middle east ancestry from thousands of years ago? I've seen people who are of British descent yet they score 1-3% Middle Eastern on DNA tests and sites like Gedmatch, but it's not clear if such ancestry is ancient admixture or recent from an actual middle eastern relative in the family tree. I've seen many White Americans of mixed Euro descent, confused as to why they score little amounts of Caucasus or middle east on Ancestry, etc. How does one go about determining if such ancestry is significant and worthy of genealogical research vs not focusing on it too much since it's from ancient admixture?
    It really depends on the person and their background.

    I saw a story about a girl from Brighton who tested with 23andme and got 1% Middle Eastern. Not only was she able to trace her ancestry back to one of Britain’s colonial sailors (also known as lascars), but she also matched people from Saudi Arabia. Most of the sailors were from India, but some were from East Africa or the Middle East.

    In other people it could be due to Southern European admixture. Southern Europeans share a portion of their DNA with people from the Middle East and North Africa. That explains why Italians often get Middle Eastern results. And there are many Germans who have some Italian ancestry for example. Also a lot of English people have Huguenot ancestors. While researching my own family history, I also found a few Spaniards and Italians in London during the early 1800s.

    And in others it could be simply something that’s been misidentified. There is no way to tell and you can’t generally prove things wrong, only right.

    Some Northern Europeans, like Germans and English people, score 3% or more East Med on average on Eurogenes K13. This is usually not an indication of recent Eastern Mediterranean ancestry. Also Scottish, Irish and Welsh people tend to score plenty of West Asian. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean anything unless it’s really really high. But you never know.
    Last edited by lana6765; 05-25-2021 at 08:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lana6765 View Post
    It really depends on the person and their background.

    I saw a story about a girl from Brighton who tested with 23andme and got 1% Middle Eastern. Not only was she able to trace her ancestry back to one of Britain’s colonial sailors (also known as lascars), but she also matched people from Saudi Arabia. Most of the sailors were from India, but some were from East Africa or the Middle East.

    In other people it could be due to Southern European admixture. Southern Europeans share a portion of their DNA with people from the Middle East and North Africa. That explains why Italians often get Middle Eastern results. And there are many Germans who have some Italian ancestry for example. Also a lot of English people have Huguenot ancestors. While researching my own family history, I also found a few Spaniards and Italians in London during the early 1800s.

    And in others it could be simply something that’s been misidentified. There is no way to tell and you can’t generally prove things wrong, only right.

    Some Northern Europeans, like Germans and English people, score 3% or more East Med on average on Eurogenes K13. This is usually not an indication of recent Eastern Mediterranean ancestry. Also Scottish, Irish and Welsh people tend to score plenty of West Asian. Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean anything unless it’s really really high. But you never know.
    I get like 2% Red Sea on eurogenes and I have no clue where it comes from, I'm mainly British-German, with smaller amounts of Scandinavian and broadly eastern euro. I assume, based on my oracle 4, that it comes from my numerous Spanish+French distances, which I have no clue of such ancestry either. I also see other mainly northwestern euro people getting minor middle eastern type results like this and it's rather interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caius Agrippa View Post
    There is no significance, the overwhelming majority of Europeans have no Middle Eastern ancestry. Don't take GEDmatch calculators seriously and I doubt Americans of Northern European descent score Caucasus or Middle East on AncestryDNA.

    Not all DNA tests will say the same thing to you, they measure different kinds of ancestry, some are more much reliable to find actual genealogical relations than others.
    I have seen a user on this forum post his Pennsylvania Dutch father's results and it shows he gets minor middle eastern, if I remember correctly it was from Ancestry and FTDNA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caius Agrippa View Post
    I am talking about Germans, Austrians, British, Scandinavians, Poles etc. These people have no Middle Eastern ancestry. And in terms of meaningful genealogical relationships even Eastern Mediterraneans do not have Middle Eastern ancestry. It is part of their ''deep'' genetic make-up, but none of them could actually find an actual Middle Eastern ancestor. The genetic relationship between Europe and the Middle East was basically closed at the beginning of the modern era, I think pretty much all European ethnicities were formed by 1500.



    0.6% is an irrelevant percentage and could very well be statistical noise.


    South/South East europeans do have.You are correct about North Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aiden View Post
    I get like 2% Red Sea on eurogenes and I have no clue where it comes from, I'm mainly British-German, with smaller amounts of Scandinavian and broadly eastern euro. I assume, based on my oracle 4, that it comes from my numerous Spanish+French distances, which I have no clue of such ancestry either. I also see other mainly northwestern euro people getting minor middle eastern type results like this and it's rather interesting.
    I think it can be difficult to work out exactly how these minor results came about, especially with the Eurogenes calculators, which are focused on ancient ancestry rather than modern.

    But especially regarding the Southern part of Northern Europe, there are numerous ways in which Southern European DNA has shaped the genetics of Northern Europeans. Like I said, a lot of Germans have Southern European ancestors. And Southern French, Italian and Spanish migrants have made their way to England from the medieval period onwards. So ‘Middle Eastern’ might just be an amalgamation of multiple multiple Southern European migrations or something.

    Originally I got tiny amounts of North African and some Southern European on 23andme. With the latest update this turned into 2.3% Spanish and Portuguese and 0.2% Broadly Southern European. I’m not sure exactly why I get this result as my genealogy research has not reached the stage where I can say anything definite. But Southern Europeans have been spotted in some of the areas my ancestors lived, so it’s not impossible. Also there was a rumour about us being somehow related to or possibly friends with the Defreitas family, some of whom migrated to Middlesex. We’ll see...
    Last edited by lana6765; 05-28-2021 at 07:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caius Agrippa View Post
    I am talking about Germans, Austrians, British, Scandinavians, Poles etc. These people have no Middle Eastern ancestry. And in terms of meaningful genealogical relationships even Eastern Mediterraneans do not have Middle Eastern ancestry. It is part of their ''deep'' genetic make-up, but none of them could actually find an actual Middle Eastern ancestor. The genetic relationship between Europe and the Middle East was basically closed at the beginning of the modern era, I think pretty much all European ethnicities were formed by 1500.

    0.6% is an irrelevant percentage and could very well be statistical noise.
    I tested myself and my parents with 23andme. We are from Romania. My mother did scored a bit of west asian, 3.5% in which half of it is cypriot and the rest is a bit of anatolian and levantine. She also tend to score between 6% to 8% arabian on modern g25 calculator and on ancient calculator, she scores even more levantine. Admixture studio gives her around 6% of levantine in alot of calculator while my father have more west asian and low to none middle east. It seems that the west asian on my mother side is replaced with levant like admixture. Is this some kind of ancient ancient gene that still survived today from the byzantine area or i really have a recent middle eastern ancestor? On 23andme i did found just a few turkish relatives and a few ashkenazi but still no fully middle eastern matches. My mother does not have more turkish or jewish matches than my father, so i don't understand why 23andme assigned west asian on her.

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