The 23andMe Ancestry Algorithm Gets an Upgrade – 23andMe October 21, 2020

I had seen reports that some people have signed up for the beta testing and had new ethnicity reports. There are two requirements to get these before they are rolled out to others: 1) you have to test on the v5 chip; 2) you have to sign up for the beta test. It’s important to remember that just because your ancestors lived in a certain area it doesn’t mean they were ethnically from the area. I refer to this YouTube video: History of Europe – 6013 years in 3 minutes – YouTube Video MrOwnerandPwner. Direct link to video: History of Europe – 6013 years in 3 minutes – YouTube Video MrOwnerandPwner (about 3:27 minutes long). In this video, it shows how much boundaries have changed in 6,013 years in Europe. By the same manner, boundaries have changed on most other continents during similar periods. As someone who should have a lot of British ancestry, my British ancestry is probably a mix of Viking, Scandinavian, French, Spanish, Roman/Italian, German, and whatever other ethnic groups have moved to the United Kingdom over the centuries.

It’s a long article so I shortened it a fair amount.

Here’s the article – The 23andMe Ancestry Algorithm Gets an Upgrade:

October 21, 2020 By 23andMe under Ancestry Reports

Improved accuracy. Less uncertainty. Better science.

We like to call 23andMe’s Ancestry Composition a living analysis of your DNA, one that gets better and more granular over time as more and more people from different backgrounds become customers. 

This Fall we’re making another upgrade to that analysis that will improve the accuracy, as well as reduce the amount of “unassigned” and non-specific ancestry assignments. But, some 23andMe users may see some pretty big shifts in their results: For example, many should expect an increase in their most common ancestry proportion and a reduction in their broadly ancestries. The end of this post includes a summary of some of the most common ways in which 23andMe users’ results will change. 

In parallel with this update to the Ancestry Composition analysis, we’re updating our reference dataset for our recent ancestor locations feature, so you might see your recent ancestor locations and match strengths change as well. 

This is all part of our ongoing efforts to improve our customer offerings. It’s worth looking back at what we’ve done since 2008 when we first started offering customers a breakdown of their ancestry. 

A look back

A lot has happened in the past 12 years. Millions of individuals have joined 23andMe and ongoing research efforts have helped us understand more about genetic diversity around the world. 23andMe has also made great strides in improving the underlying algorithms and reference populations that we use to deliver these results. In 2008, we broke down ancestry into three main categories: African, European, and East Asian. Since then we’ve offered a series of updates where we refined those original estimates into more and more granular results. Now customers can discover if their DNA traces to more than 2,000 regions worldwide.


About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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