We’re excited to tell you about some major improvements we’ve made to help you find your possible relatives with AncestryDNA.
AncestryDNA scientists have innovated new and better ways to identify family relationships by comparing DNA between AncestryDNA members. Now, AncestryDNA is almost 70x more likely to find distant relatives, and all existing AncestryDNA members will see improved results.
What this means for you:
- More accurate — Each of your DNA matches will be more accurate and is more likely to be related to you. You can feel confident that you share a recent ancestor (up to 5–10 generations).
- Less is more — Because DNA matching is more accurate, some people who you matched before will no longer be on your list. So you’ll see fewer matches, but each of the ones you have will be more likely to result in a new family discovery.
- This innovative way of DNA matching lays a foundation for new DNA features.
- Best part — you don’t need to provide a new sample. We simply compare your DNA results again to everyone in the database using our new matching algorithms and give you an improved, higher-confidence list of DNA matches.
- Check out your matches and see more detail around the confidence levels for each match.
Here are a few of the ways we were able to improve DNA matching:
Separating What Makes Us Human from What Makes Us Related
Now that AncestryDNA has more than 500,000 DNA samples, the science team has been able to identify patterns in DNA matches that only become apparent with a unique data set like this. One of those patterns is something people call “pile-ups” for lack of a better term. The basic description of a “pile-up” is an area in DNA where there are hundreds and sometimes thousands of people sharing the same genetic code. Ken Chahine describes this in a recent blog post where he says, “When you take a step back, matching isn’t as simple as it might first appear. After all, we are all 99% identical. In other words, determining which parts of our genome make us ‘human’ and which make us ‘recent cousins’ is tricky…”
This tends to happen when people share an ethnicity or traits, but not a recent common ancestor. These kind of matches won’t appear in your results anymore because they aren’t relevant to family history research.
AncestryDNA not only uses sophisticated mathematical models to identify DNA matches, we are also one of the few autosomal DNA tests to apply a technology called “phasing” in order to better identify the strands of DNA you inherited from each of your parents. While this can’t necessarily separate your matches by which side of the family they come from, it does improve the ability to find possible relatives who share DNA by keeping the strands of DNA you inherited from each of your parents intact.
The AncestryDNA science team continues to validate the new matching algorithms and techniques and evolve the technology to help AncestryDNA customers make new and exciting discoveries.
We’ve shared lots more details on how DNA matching at AncestryDNA works. Check out our white paper for the full details. To view the white paper, go to your DNA homepage, click View all DNA matches, and then click the help question mark in the upper-right corner. That will give you access to all the help content for matching and the white paper.