A genomicist tells you what tests are worth it for you, and why
Wonderful counterpoint to the literary & symbolic aspects of genealogy e.g. here:
As a Punjabi South Asian, I got 80% South Asian, 10% West Asian, 4% Central Asian, 5% Finnish, and around 1% Irish/Scottish/Welsh. I took thr test through MyHeritage. Do you think there would be any value in uploading it to another site? Also speak to the potential accuracy of my current results.
Don't all of these services keep copies of your genetic data? I'm not comfortable with that.
My WGS was done by BGI in an IQ study a decade ago and I have the whole file. Unfortunately, i have no idea how to read it. I could search for an individual unit with the standard search feature, but unless I knew what it meant it would be of no value. I certainly keep it, just sitting there on my computer and I hope my children and grandchildren will get use from the data.
Do you have thoughts on genomic data privacy? Both whether it's important, and which services are good for it.
I did LivingDNA because I was interested in regions within Britain (as well as Y and mt DNA) but their autosomal DNA interpretation in terms of percentages is not very accurate. I uploaded their data into GEDMatch and got much more reasonable results (c. 25% Italian instead of 58% Italian - I'm 50% Ashkenazi Jewish and 48% Anglo-Celtic Australian). What I was looking for was 2% Sub-Saharan African ancestry which shows up across many analyses on GEDMatch but not on LivingDNA. I now sent off a MyHeritage test as my cousin recommended it... Waiting for result...
Does a WGS test like Nebula provide information about your Y haplogroup? To a similar level of detail as the Y-focused tests on FamilyTreeDNA? I think I want to do the deepest FamilyTreeDNA test some day, but I'm trying to understand where these tests might overlap.
Thanks, Razib for pointing me earlier this week on Clubhouse to Nebula and their Black Friday deal. My kit is waiting back home! Snapped up your substack’s Cyber Monday deal too - glad to be a subscriber again! Happy Thanksgiving!
This post came one day too late! Last night I finally succumbed to curiosity and ordered 23andMe Health & Ancestry after being worried about privacy implications for years. I'll likely just order a WGS as well.
One question I've had that wasn't quite addressed here: how useful is DNA testing for answering the health questions of those from lower sampled ethnicities? That question is very broad but I'm curious what your general thoughts are.
For context, I'm Kikuyu. My understanding is that polygenic risk score accuracy is worst for African populations. Should I expect the 23andMe "Health Predisposition Reports" to be bunk? How much will I learn from Promethease? I understand it's highly dependent on what health metric I'm looking at and proprietary details unknown to you; but again, I'm just interested in your general thoughts.
I did a 23andme test and it gave me Mongolian and Native American ancestry at around 2%. The Native American ancestry makes sense since my family has been in Canada for 400 years but I assumed the Mongolian ancestry was simply a proxy to Native American. However, they updated it recently and the Native American has been changed for Anatolian. I really cannot connect the dots between those 2 though...
I've seen papers about sequencing of fetal DNA from the mother's blood sample, but am not aware of companies that actually offer it. (Maybe I'm just googling badly) Are there any that seem legit?
Ps, bring back the hot sauce reviews!
Hi Razib, huge fan. Remember reading your gnxp blog regularly back in the day.
I am straits Chinese from both parents side (both identify as "Hakka") My ancestors arrived from the 1800s onwards until around 1900. My Ancestry results are:
58% Southern Chinese, 14% Vietnam, 13% Central and Eastern China, 12% Dai, 3% southern Philippines.
The southern Philippines makes sense, I think, as my parents' hometown is relatively close to the south of the Philippines, but I had anticipated a lot more Southeast Asian. Any suggestions for what other provider to look at for my specific situation as a Straits Chinese?
This question is probably a week too late to get any response, but Razib threw in a small aside that I've not heard before, and I pay keen attention to all his content regarding the history of our lineage in Africa over the last 200k years. Namely, this article mentions in passing that the lineage of those who left Africa ~60kya actually diverged from the lineage of sub-Saharan Africans some time before that -- ~100kya. Did I miss a podcast or article where this was explored? Inquiring Minds gotta know!!
Would you say the ancestry report from Nebula is comparable to those of Ancestry/23andMe?
What do you think is the best way to get a good ancestry report if you have WGS data? I did sequencing.com and bought the Eone Ancestry report.
PS.: Eone Ancestry was not worth the $10 (small reference samples). I also strongly recommend against buying from sequencing.com, had a really bad experience with them (took >8 months, lost one sample, low quality for another because of the delays and half the site doesn't work after their big update).
I thought I'd share as a Canadian of donor-conceived origins which sites have been most helpful for me for finding my siblings (27 and counting so far... likely around 150 total out there).
Ancestry: 5 (including 1 overlap with 23andMe)
23andMe: 5 (including 1 overlap with Ancestry)
FamilyTree (upload of my Ancestry kit): 1
MyHeritageDNA (upload of my Ancestry kit): 1
That uploading option is one I would flag as missing from your piece. It's free/cheap to get a lot of info by uploading your 23andMe or Ancestry kits to FamilyTree or MyHeritageDNA, but there is no option to upload from other companies into either Ancestry or 23andMe.
I will say that MyHeritage has been a bit better for "old country" (ie Europe) matches.
Re: looking at your own genetic ancestry directly, what tools are you using for that if you don't mind me asking? R and qpAdm?
The reason I ask is I get pretty widely divergent results for my grandfather (and to a lesser extent for myself) and I'd like to sus out the truth of matters. My grandfather comes back as anywhere between 0% and 10% non-European. Davidski suggested a minority mix of Roma, Tatar and New World Hispanic ancestry alongside a large dose of Central European. Roma and Tatar make sense geographically, but I would love to puzzle out how someone born in 1920s Czechoslovakia gets some Hispanic ancestry.