3 free tools to determine ethnicity estimates from your ancestry DNA data

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Many of us have taken at least one if not more of the ancestry tests from DNA testing companies like AncestryDNA, 23andme, MyHeritage, Living DNA or FTDNA. There is a burning desire to find out what different companies report about our ancestors and if the ethnicity estimates that you received are accurate enough.

Ethinicity Estimate: What’s The Big Deal?

DNA matching is a complex process. I can say from my personal experience (data to support in the images below) that many of us who took an ancestry test from one DNA testing company wonder what the other company would report. If you considered Facebook’s audience was a proxy representation of ancestry company databases, it can be said that there appears to be at least 20% overlap. That is, at least 20% of the people who have taken a 23andMe test have also taken an Ancestry DNA test.

The urge to learn what other companies report is totally valid and is something that requires:

  • more in-depth analysis on the databases and markers used by each of the companies
  • how they label certain populations (depending on reference panels and region names used) 
  • the coverage (size) of the database that they have for each ethnic group

In addition to purchasing ancestry tests from multiple DNA testing companies, you can also use some free tools to calculate your ethnicity estimates. I list below three alternatives that you could use to determine your ancestry. However, remember these databases are highly heterogenous and we don’t have a clear idea on clean up performed before they are fed in to the algorithm. Remember in computer parlance, “garbage in garbage out”. This means that the accuracy of ethnicity estimation is as good as the data each of these companies use. Over to the free tools now! 

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