Why did the estimate change?

We have better tools for telling regions apart, especially closely related regions like Ireland and Great Britain. We also have 16,000 reference samples now instead of 3,000, which helps screen out less-likely regions.

How have the latest results been improved?

More Regions

With advancements in DNA science and more data, we’re able to divide the world into more regions. With more regions to work with, we can typically make a more nuanced estimate.

Larger Sample Sizes

We determine your ethnicity estimate by comparing your DNA to samples of DNA from people who have a long history in a region. As we get more samples, our picture of what DNA from a region or group “looks like” gets better. We’ve added more than 13,000 new samples to the original 3,000 in our reference database to give us our clearest picture yet for each region.

Improved Ways to Analyze Your Data

DNA is made up of strings of four different letters: A, C, G, and T. Our old algorithm looked at one letter at a time, and based on where that letter appeared in your DNA, it decided where that bit of DNA came from. Without getting too technical, our new algorithm reads longer stretches of your DNA at once, making it easier to identify regions of the world where you ancestor once roamed.

What happened to my other regions?

We’re all intrigued by unexpected regions that show up in our ethnicity estimate—even if they don’t fit what we know about our family’s past. Here are some reasons why some of those regions may not appear in your new estimate.

First, we have more data. We estimate your ethnicity by comparing your DNA to the DNA of people who are native to a region. We call these people a reference panel. We now have 13,000 more samples in our reference panel, which means our ability to estimate your ethnicity is even better.

Second, with more data, we have been able to narrow down and better define our regions.

Third, DNA analysis is complex, cutting-edge science. We have developed even more powerful mathematical algorithms that help improve the accuracy of your DNA results. It’s like having a more powerful antenna that lets us pick up a clearer signal from a radio station.

Will my estimate change again in the future?

It could. As we get more data and the science behind DNA analysis improves, we may be able to provide even more precise ethnicity estimates.


Still curious to understand more? Cool--we're glad you're as interested in genetics as we are. Check out our white paper on ethnicity prediction.