Consumer genomics is a new and evolving field and Ancestry® is at the forefront, constantly developing new ways for you to learn about yourself through DNA. Today, we’re proud to announce that our team of scientists have increased the AncestryDNA® reference panel to more than double its previous size with samples from more places around the world, resulting in the latest update to AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates.
Over the next several months, AncestryDNA customers may receive updated ethnicity estimates, thanks to our expanded reference panel, which allows us to determine ethnic breakdowns with a higher degree of precision. This means there may be some changes to your results.
For example, previously we had North and South America as two large regions: Native American–Andean and Native American–North, Central, South. With this new update, we are able to refine the areas into 11 smaller ones. If you received one of the older regions before, your new report will most likely have one of the newer, more precise regions instead like Indigenous Eastern South America, Indigenous Cuba, and Indigenous Americas–Mexico, among others.
While not common, some customers may also lose a small percentage region as a result of this update. One way this can happen is if that ethnicity has been re-assigned to a nearby region. This is because people from neighboring areas tend to look similar genetically. For example, some people with ancestors from southern Italy will lose their small amount of Turkey/Armenia and possibly gain a bit of Near East instead.
Because we have introduced new improvements, many of our customers whose ancestors lived in Africa can also expect changes with this update. For example, someone who has Nigeria and Benin/Togo may see an increase in their Nigeria percentage and a decrease in their Benin/Togo region. This advancement enables us to deliver improved results in West Africa and globally to enhance the experience across diverse populations including improvements and region realignment in northwestern Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Southeast Asia.
Here’s how we do it: At Ancestry, we use cutting edge science to study the DNA in your saliva to reveal your ethnic origins. After your DNA is extracted, we analyze your genome and survey over 700,000 locations in your DNA. Then our science team uses an advanced algorithm to compare long segments of your DNA to the DNA of people in our reference panel who have deep family histories from specific parts of the world. This unique reference panel largely comes from our database, and their heritage is verified through Ancestry family trees to provide the most accurate picture of your ethnic origins when your results arrive.
With 15 million people tested and more joining our network each day, we expect that the number and granularity of regions we can offer will continue to increase over time. This latest update is just one way of fulfilling our promise to continuously improve our product and your experience.
This update is completely free to our existing members and provided to new customers at no additional cost. We encourage you to look at your ethnicity results regularly to explore your latest estimate.
To view a full list of all our regions, please visit: https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/List-of-AncestryDNA-Regions