New Worldview at 23andMe

23andMe released a new version of their Ancestry Composition – and guess what – my Native Ancestry is shown for the first time.  Yahoo!  It was previously shown at 23andMe as Asian, and the chromosomal locations have changed somewhat as well.

23andMe has greatly improved their product offering, moving from a significantly outdated 3 step ethnicity approach, European, African and Asian, to a multi-tiered, regional platform.

Let’s take a look at what we have today.

Here’s me in my new worldview at 23andMe under the Ancestry Composition tab.  The regions where I have ancestry are brightly colored.

rje world 23andme

Looking at my ethnic breakdown, shown on the right on my page, but shown below here, you can see that I’m 99.4% European, 0.5% Native American and 0.1% unassigned.

rje world 23andme 2

The worldwide breakdown into regions is quite interesting as well.

rjeregion23andme

By highlighting any region item, above, it shows you the corresponding region on your worldview, below.  Pretty cool.

rjeregion23andme2

They’ve updated the Chromosome View as well.  Previously, my Chromosome View looked like this:

rjechromosome view old 23andme

Now, it looks like this, reflecting the new regional ethnicity information.

rjechromosome view 23andme new

Another setting that you can manipulate is found in the drop down box in the upper right corner. It has 3 options, standard estimate, conservative estimate and speculative.  In my case, this changes the results very little, the Native moving around a bit, but the regions within Europe do change.  Be sure to take a look at all of these.  The drop down box is easy to miss.

One thing I do really like about this new rollout is that the X chromosome is included.  You can see it at the bottom of the list.  This is new and has been promised for a long time.

One feature that I would very much like to see is the ability to determine which, if any, of my matches actually match me on the segments determined to be Native American.  I realize that not everyone at 23andMe is interested in genealogy, but if you could contact them and say, “Hey, we match on my Native segment – let’s see if we can find some common ancestry,” it might generate enough interest to garner a response.  I would like to find a way to use these results more effectively.  I think there is a lot of unrecognized potential just waiting to be harvested.

All in all, a significant step forward for 23andMe.  For me, not a lot of new information.  I discovered that I have some Native genes on chromosome 2 in addition to chromosome 1.  My African ancestry picked up elsewhere is missing here.  Fortunately, my Native American heritage is now classified as such, and not Asian.  However, on the speculative view, I still have a smidgen of Asian, likely from the Native American heritage.  I really like the 3 choices in how to display results, conservative, standard and speculative.

As soon as the National Geographic Geno 2.0 ethnicity information is available, I’ll be comparing all the results from the various companies against my known genealogical heritage and taking a look at all of those results combined.  Stay tuned….things are really getting interesting!

21 thoughts on “New Worldview at 23andMe

  1. Nice post, Roberta. Your images look great!
    One clarification – 23andMe has always shown the X matching on Family Inheritance Advanced. That is not new. Also, the X is included in the download and tables and always has been in my experience.

    • I will do another download to check, but the X was not shown in the table view of the chromosome view. Maybe a glitch. I surely wish they gave us start and stop segments for those ethnic matches. Would be so useful when comparing to other matches:)

  2. Like Roberta, I have some NA ancestry, about 4%. (My testing was done by Family Tree.) This is consistent with the family lore, which lists an “unknown Indian woman” as an ancestress about 5 generations back. What is odd is that the genetic results show her as Maya or Pima, while the branch of the family where she came in all lived their whole lives in and around Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. The most populous tribes there were Kaskaskia and Illinois, which I have always assumed to be closer to Plains Indians than Maya or Pima. Does anyone know the migration routes of these tribes, and how they might be related to the Maya or Pima?

      • I know there’s a history to this issue that would take many pages to fill as Dr. Sykes has attempted, but I sincerely hope one day to see more willingness by Native Americans to undergo DNA testing. It appears 23and Me used only samples from the Human Genome Diversity Project dataset for Native American. That sure limits what can be learned from the test in that regard. My results show .5% Native American and I’m as curious as others to learn more.

  3. I’m very pleased to see a tiny bar (on Chr. 12) of Native American. It should be there — but I suspect they have so little reference data from functionally extinct southeastern tribes, it’s a minor miracle to pick up anything from colonial VA and NC. Is there any way to begin piecing these fragments together, to reconstruct any of that? Guess it would be a pretty long shot. Mine should be from NC on the lower Meherrin River, or nearby parts of VA — not later than 1745, and possibly a hundred years older. Pretty diluted, by now.

  4. I’m also pleased to see the different breakdowns and like those here, my NA results seem to be consistent with family tradition. The bigger mystery is where did the Ashkenazi come from?

  5. This is a great improvement from the previous ancestry painting and I fully expect FTDNA and Geno2.0 will show similar progress in presenting autosomal admixture analysis that can excite consumers of these products such as myself. I know others may disagree, but I do believe we are still in this field’s infancy and that rather than the 7,868 individuals that 23andMe states were in its sample dataset, we will in the future look forward to over a million representative samples, and be able to compare individual alleles with others and determine with precision everyone on one’s family tree, without ever having a genealogical record. As an adoptee, that is my dream.

    Right now, 23andMe still shows my heritage as 65.5% Nonspecific North European and 15.7% Nonspecific European, another reason I look forward to larger and more current datasets. As an aside, some of the public datasets that 23andMe states it still uses, such as the Human Genome Diversity Project’s are, I believe, almost ten years old at this point, and were not that large or truly representative to begin with, although they were indeed cutting-edge at the time. That’s where we all got the confusing “orcadian” from. Thankfully 23andMe must recognize this and uses labels such as Nonspecific North European, which I frankly prefer to being falsely told my heritage is from the Orkney Islands. Thanks Roberta for sharing this.

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  8. Fascinating! I’ve testing mtdna FGS with Ftdna as well as my uncles Y DNA with Ftdna. I also tested many years ago with ancestry.com when they were providing admixtures and showed 3% Native American ancestry which would be consistent with family history — although I’m pretty sure it’s more than 3%. Family history is Chickasaw and Choctaw great grandmother on her father’s side — my great great grandfather and unfortunately I don’t know anyone from that male line to test. I am going to try the 23 and me autosomal test and eventually download to Ftdna when I have more money. This is all so exciting.

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  11. On their new ancestry composition they show both arms of the Chromosomes…Do you know if perhaps one arm represents mother or father specifically? My own seems to suggest the top arm is mother’s line and bottom arm may be father’s.

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