FamilyTreeDNA’s Chromosome Painting Just Arrived!!!

FamilyTreeDNA’s long-anticipated chromosome painting for ethnicity results just arrived!

Videos and a White Paper!

Along with the release, Family TreeDNA has also provided several resources.

Dr. Paul Maier, Population Geneticist at FamilyTreeDNA created a three-part video series that explains MyOrigins V3 and the science behind the results – in normal language that air-breathing humans can understand. These are absolutely wonderful and only about 10 minutes each, so be sure to watch – in order!

MyOrigins 3.0 white paper that explains the science in more detail is here! If nothing else, at least skim and look at the pictures. It’s actually an amazing document.

Your Painted Results

To view your results, sign on to your account and click on Chromosome Painting!

Click on any image to enlarge

There it is – your beautiful new painted chromosomes with your Continental or Super Population results painted on your chromosomes!

Look, there are my AmerIndian segments, in pink.

What Can I Do?

You can download your segment file too – in the upper right-hand corner.

You can also download your segment match file found under the chromosome browser tab and sort your segments to see who matches you on these segments. I provided instructions, here.

Of course, you’ll see both sides, meaning paternal and maternal matches, so it will be necessary to determine on which “side” your segments of interest originate, and who matches you on that side of your tree.

We will discuss these strategies and how to implement them in future articles.

A little birdie tells me that DNAPainter will have an import soon so you can upload your chromosome painting file to integrate with your match painting.

Right now, just viewing and appreciating your chromosome art that represents our ancestors is amazing. Did you find any surprises? Who else wants to print and frame this?

If you don’t have results at FamilyTreeDNA, you can upload DNA results from the other three major testing companies and pay a $19 unlock to receive your very own chromosome painting. Upload/Download instructions are found here.

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38 thoughts on “FamilyTreeDNA’s Chromosome Painting Just Arrived!!!

  1. This feature is entirely useless for me. DNA Painter works much better. All FTDNA shows is that my roots are entirely western Europe.

    • This isn’t a competitor to DNAPainter. It’s most useful for people with more diversity. For me, it’s invaluable because I can identify people who share my Native segments.

  2. I’m sure this will be of value to some people, but in my case I’m a bit underwhelmed. I have only two “Super Populations,” Western Europe, at 98.7% and Eastern Europe (specifically West Slavic), at <2%. The <2% could easily be noise and the segments assigned meaningless. I should point out that I have no known ancestor from Eastern Europe going back many generations on all of my lines. None of the other sites where I've tested (MyHeritage, Ancestor or 23andMe) identify an Eastern Europe component. That said, I am still looking forward to seeing how this correlates with the painting of matches I've done at Genetic Affairs.

  3. I’m not impressed with FTNA chromosome painting either, how can it not show my Native American when I have a significant amount and other popular sites show it, also I don’t have any known Eastern European ancestry that’s the only one from Europe it shows and I don’t have any ancestry from Myanmar.

  4. Roberta,

    It seems that your chromosome painting results illustrated in this article are slightly different than your chromosome painting results demonstrated in the Family Finder’s myOrigins 3.0 Explained – Part 1 video. Do you know why this is the case?

  5. When Chromosome Painter can separate my Western Europe from Eastern Europe, my 68 percent and 16 percent, I’ll be more interested. Then if the Western Europe can separate out my Scandinavian from Ireland, we are getting somewhere. Two solid blue lines for every chromosome is of no current value. Less than 1% Caucasis can’t be related to any ancestor and thus no value regardless to far. I’m sure many of my matches would share the same amount. So, currently I don’t even get a pretty picture. Hoping for additional enhancements.

    • My Painting now shows additional detail. It may have taken longer than I would have thought to produce the results I see now. Finding west Slavic and Baltic will be interesting to investigate.

  6. Ha ha. According to FTDNA I am part “Magyar” (I doubt it) and “Baltic”. I don’t get either of these ethnicities at any other company. Anyway the ha ha is because the colours they assign these ethnicities are SO similar. The difference in blue is subtle. I have to use the filter. – I like that they’ve added a tool, even if it will be more useful to those with a very diverse background. (I like 23andMe’s paining tool too.) – I do wonder how I am sometimes “Magyar” on both sides of my chromosome pairs, sometimes on the bottom and sometimes on the top. Hmm… I wonder if they really know how to sort that. Interesting.

      • If I understand correctly I will not know which side is maternal and which side is paternal as I look at my painted DNA at FTDNA? To date I have not one known family member who tested at FTDNA. (Not even a 3rd cousin.) I don’t understand how they can phase for me. — BTW, I also noticed at 23andMe they assigned an ethnicity to one side or another for both me and my daughter. I have the impression these assignments can be arbitrary. For example, in my case, my distant Ashkenazi Jewish is on an upper segment on ch. 9 but then on a lower segment on ch. 13. Based on my relevant matches I am almost certain that I get my bits of Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity from my father’s side only (unlike ethnicities associated probably with my SJ ancestry). So I’m confused why they did this. (Otherwise both my parents are predominantly NW European… a big overlap of ethnicity.)

        • Yes, it’s arbitrary at both vendors. There’s no way to do this otherwise. About phasing – there are two kinds. A academic/scientific phasing which is what they do for everyone. Then there is parental or family phasing which they don’t do. At least not yet.

  7. Do you think FTDNA can tell which one is Parent1 on each chromosome and so they always display Parent 1 on the top of the chromosome pair in their display? (eg Parent1 is the top one of the Chr 1 pair, the top one of the Chr2 pair, the top one of the Chr3 pair, etc.) Or do you think it’s mixed up where for some chromosomes Parent1 is on the top and for others Parent 2 is on the top?

      • Hi Roberta,
        As a follow up to the MT_Roots question. How do I know for each chromosome which top and bottom correspond to my father and mother? Have you written a blog post on this topic already? Does DNA Painter help me determine this? Thank you

        • Thanks for the answer!

          I wonder if FTDNA picks the position, top or bottom in the pair, based on proportions. What I mean is if one of the pairs for each chromosome averages 99% Western Europe and the other pair averages 91% Western Europe and 8% Eastern Europe (something significantly different) then FTDNA puts the chromosomes making up the 99% group in the (say) top position and the other one always in the bottom position.

          I notice this. My mom’s father was 100% English for generations and her mother was 100% German for generations. The top chromosome of each of her pairs is 99% Western Europe and her bottom chromosome has considerably more Eastern Europe.

          I don’t think FTDNA knows which is her father and which is her mother, just that the one parent has almost all Western Europe while the other parent has a considerable amount of Eastern Europe.

          In my mom’s case I think they put, or tried to put, her father in the top position. For my case I think they put, or tried to put, my father in the bottom position. I’ve visually phased my father’s side using my siblings, my mother and cousins and the Eastern European sections of my father’s side on several chromosomes I’ve phased correspond to the FTDNA Eastern European sections in the bottom chromosome of my pairs. So I think most/all of my bottom pairs are my father.

          I would love to hear what other people have noticed.

          • I am very curious about the answer to your question too – whether which chromosome is listed first is consistent across the board. Knowing this could be extremely useful to my research. My father is Estonian, and I manage three kits for Estonian relatives. I expect most Estonians to show a mixture of Baltic, Finnish, Slavic, and sometimes Scandinavian, and the three kits do. However, one row in my father’s results in Chromosome Painter show a much stronger Finnish presence, which is consistent with my archival research (indicating rather likely emigration from Finland in the 1600’s/1700’s). I *think* this represents my paternal grandfather, but if the pairs are jumbled, then my theory doesn’t hold.

          • No, each chromosome is phased separately. They have no way to connect the sides between chromosomes without parental phasing.

  8. If only they had an option to choose your own colors. I have 5 regions in Europe painted in 5 shades of blue. Pretty stripes but hard to distinguish each region. Is there a way to offer feedback?

  9. I took a look at the new feature last night and think there may be issues with it, at least for my genome. CHR 1, 9, and 10 show both of my parents having Eastern Europe or Baltic. My dad’s father was from Hungary (now NW Romania), so having this little bit of diversity has been helpful with using 23andMe’s similar product. The other half of my father’s genealogy consists of English, Irish, Scottish, and Swiss (Mennonites).

    I know from learning more of the history of Hungary and its people that German and Turkish (Balkans/Caucasus) can easily come into play, so I’m scratching my head about my mother’s contribution to this pool of ethnicities. Deep southern roots (Scottish, English German), but it may be from my HELMS/HARGETT line (from my maternal grandmother). I believe Hargett is thought to be “German” and the two families liked to intermarry in the early-mid 1700s. However, the segment locations point to my maternal grandfather’s family. Do we have the capability to compare segments to our cousins. Two 2nd cousins from my maternal grandfather’s family have tested or uploaded their raw DNA to FTDNA. Would like to see what their ethnicity is showing on the matched segments to me, if they are matched to those chromosomes. I’ll have to look at that later.

    As for the centromere on Chromosome 9, 23andMe has mapped ethnicity in that area for me and it’s the only testing company that shows me having African DNA. Using the Admixture tools on GEDMatch, this agrees with 23andMe. That’s a segment that I match with from my maternal grandmother’s DOUGLAS, FLOWERS, or HOWARD line. One DNA match thus far for that segment. FTDNA ignored that area of chromosome 9.

    So, fun things to come I reckon. But not this month.

  10. In my case, and that of my daughter, the phasing seems a bit hit and miss. My mother was entirely British, while my father was Estonian, a mixture of Baltic, Finnish and Scandinavian. But for several of my chromosomes, both top and bottom have mixtures of Western European, Baltic and Finnish. The same happens for my daughter, though not to the same extent. Her father was Irish/English, and his chromosome painting is almost entirely W. European, but she has some Baltic and Finnish elements for both top and bottom in a few chromosomes.

    It seems to me that FTDNA have more work to do before this tool is useful.

  11. I don’t believe FTNA chromosomes or any other tool they use is useful for people of very mixed ancestry, my results are very different from Ancestrydna or 23andme, they remind me of Myheritage but even Myheritage is slightly more accurate for me than FTNA.

  12. I noticed that my siblings and I have matches on the maternal line at places my mother does not. So, there are significant false positives. Also, the paternal chromosome painting line sometimes has matches my father (97.5% Western European) does not have but my mother does.

    But, it will be fun to play with this.

  13. Thank you for sharing background on this new tool! I have a couple of thoughts and questions. I’m curious, like others above are, as to whether FTDNA had a way of consistently representing which chromosome came from which parent – if so, it could be revelatory for me. And I agree that a customizable color scheme would be helpful (I manage kits for 3 Estonians and 1 Pole, and the colors are so similar that it is not possible to quickly scan visually (and the filter tool is clunky and requires too much clicking.)

    I also wonder whether it would be possible to split Finland into Eastern and Western Finland instead of lumping it all together, as my understanding is that eastern and western Finns are genetically quite distinct. Yes, I know I’m being a little greedy, but since there is such a big Finnish testing pool at FTDNA, I’m sure that this would be very appreciated and useful.

  14. Nice to see that they are continuing to actively develop the site! Hope that triangulation comes along at some point – with Ashkenazi results, it’s a bummer to have such a huge database of matches available but no way to determine which segments actually triangulate without contacting each match individually.

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