Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Ancestry's Genetic Communities

On Friday, St Patrick's Day, I received an email from AncestryDNA

From 28 March, your AncestryDNA results will be updated with Genetic Communities. The new feature will map where your family may have lived across 19 different Irish areas, from Derry to Cork. But you're probably not 100% Irish - so we'll also identify the communities that you belong to around Britain and the rest of the world.
I'm looking forward to seeing my results and finding out where specifically they think the 30% Irish DNA their test shows to be in my genes comes from.

For those wanting to dig deeper Ancestry have made available a white paper which goes into some detail on the technique used. Find it at www.ancestry.com/cs/dna-help/communities/whitepaper

The technique uses not only the DNA results but combines them with surname, birthplace, ancestor's birthplaces and general information on community migration patterns using powerful statistical approaches. I'd be interested to know just how much value there is in that additional information beyond that from DNA, and how much could be estimated without the DNA results.

If the technique proves credible how will the champions of the genealogical proof standard react when faced with an additional example of statistically-based evidence?

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