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Thread: Questions about 23andme

  1. #26
    Advisor Angela's Avatar
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    @Thorbjorn,

    One of the gurus of population genetics put it this way to paraphrase him roughly: over the last tens of thousands of years, three "tribes" of people moved into the "European" part of Eurasia. First to arrive were hunter gatherers, WHG, perhaps from the Near East originally, although some may have arrived from due east through eastern Europe, maybe some directly from Anatolia, perhaps a few through Gibraltar. There are differences of opinion which hopefully more ancient dna will resolve.

    Around 9000 years ago, some hunter-gatherers, having developed farming, moved far and wide in a rather star burst fashion, including into Europe. The ones in Anatolia are usually labeled ENF. The ones in Europe are EEF. There were probably always more of them in southern Europe, mostly because that's where they first arrived, but also because their "agricultural" package of plants and animals was more suited to that climate and those soil conditions. There was some intermarriage between the two groups, although the original "farmer" component predominated, and it took thousands of years for the admixture to take place.

    Another group of hunter-gatherers, from Northern Eurasia this time, moved into parts of far eastern and far northeastern "Europe" (although that's a later quasi-political term) around roughly 10-12,000 years ago. They're called the ANE, and probably, according to some people, they admixed with the WHG (the first hunter-gatherers) to form the EHG or eastern hunter-gatherers, although there are differences of opinion about this as well.

    Then, around 5,000 or so years ago, in an area north of the Black Sea called the Pontic Caspian steppe, a group of people, half EHG and half what is called CHG, which is a group, according to some people, related to the early farmers from Anatolia but perhaps with some ANE, developed a culture based on various types of technology learned from others, like agriculture, animal herding, metallurgy, pottery, carts, maybe the wheel, and added to it the horse and a patriarchal culture. Their language is Indo-European. They moved from the steppes into Europe (among other places), admixing with the prior inhabitants along the way.

    Everybody in Europe is descended from these groups, but in different proportions. In far northeastern and northwestern Europe perhaps there were pockets of WHG people remaining, which didn't exist in the south. Perhaps when the Indo-European speakers got to Central and Northwestern Europe there weren't all that many mixed ENF/WHG people left because there had been a climate or environmentally caused population crash, perhaps because the newcomers carried plague, perhaps because they killed a lot of the males there. In southern Europe,perhaps the population density was higher, so more of the prior inhabitants remained.

    The differences are probably also due to subsequent migrations in Europe which scrambled things up again, particularly just before and after the Roman Era; Celts moved into Northern Italy, Germanic tribes went west and south after the fall of Rome, Germanic tribes also moved into Britain as Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Vikings did the same, and then there were the Slavic migrations west and into southeastern Europe, and the Moorish invasions in Spain, Sicily and southern Italy. Each of these groups had their own particular mix of the ancient "tribes".

    The basic picture is one of stasis interrupted by punctuated burst of large folk migrations. From about 1000 AD to the late 1800s in Italy, there's been stasis in most cases.

    If you want an academic paper discussing the ancient migrations, Haak et al is a good place to start. It will tell you in general terms how much of each group is in each European "national" group.
    http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2015/02/10/013433





    If you're using the "calculators" created by various hobbyists and put on gedmatch, you have to be aware that they're not showing you your WHG/ANE/ENF percentages. Neither are they giving you how much "Italian" you have, the way 23andme is attempting to do, except as an approximation in the Oracle function. The calculators are looking at "components". Once again, it's a sort of "cluster". "Northern European" just means the genetic signature that is most common in northern Europe. That has ENF genes in it, and WHG, and EHG etc. Likewise, "Southern European" has ENF, and WHG, and EHG. Or substitute EEF, WHG, and ANE. It's only the proportions that are different.

    What those calculator results can't tell you is WHEN those different elements arrived in southern Italy or with whom, which is what I think you want to know. Yes? You want to know if that "Northern European" arrived in the historical era, i.e. in the last 1000 years, with Normans, perhaps, or Angevins etc.? I don't think those calculators can tell you that. It might be from the Italici, or other Indo-European migrants into Italy for all we know. The only way I think we could tell in general terms is if we had an ancient sample from, say, the Roman or post Roman era and then one from, say, 1600 or so from your area.

    What the calculators are good for, in my opinion, is so that you can compare yourself with other people in your area, because it's indeed true that people in certain regions of Italy get similar scores for each of these components. If your scores are in the same ballpark, then you are indeed "typical" for your area of Italy. It got to the point, after seeing dozens of those scores, that I could tell someone's ethnicity by just scanning them, I didn't even have to look at the Oracle results.

    You might want to take a look at this graph for the Dodecad calculators. If your scores on that calculator approximate those scores for southern Italian/Sicilian, then you're indeed "typical" for your area.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_UOHFTxL-bO...MIXTURE10.jpeg

    It would be best, however, to compare against other people from your area. Then you'd know if you're an "outlier" for some reason.

    One other way of telling if it's accurate for you is, however, to run the Oracle function on these things. The lower the number, the better the "fit". Now, Italians have a lot more variation than people in northern Europe, so you're not going to get the fits way below 1 that some of them get. However, there is a difference in terms of calculators. The more representative the samples, the better the results. For me, the MDLP 23 is by far the best at pinpointing my regional ethnicity in Italy, and that's because it uses lots of academic samples for northern Italy. For example, one of the samples is from the border area between Piemonte, Liguria and Emilia, and, predictably enough, that's a very good match for me. In other words, I'm pretty "typical" for my area.

    If you already knew a lot of this I apology for droning on, but perhaps it will help some newbies.
    Last edited by Angela; 03-05-16 at 02:47.


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  2. #27
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    @Angela...

    That was great. It was definitely worth your effort. I knew only part of it but not the whole of it. This is the part I haven't been able to express properly:

    What the calculators are good for, in my opinion, is so that you can compare yourself with other people in your area, because it's indeed true that people in certain regions of Italy get similar scores for each of these components. If your scores are in the same ballpark, then you are indeed "typical" for your area of Italy.
    I think people confuse genetics, populations and migrations (or settling down) with ethnicity and nationality, both of which imo are social constructs. Sicily has Norman and Vandal influence, but contrary to what the History Channel is portraying, the Normans (rather, the people now known as Normans) weren't all Vikings, or all descendants of Hrolfr/Rollo. Some Vikings settled in Normandy and climbed into the genetic soup that was already in what is now France. I suppose that soup splashed around.

  3. #28
    Advisor Angela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thorbjorn View Post
    @Angela...

    That was great. It was definitely worth your effort. I knew only part of it but not the whole of it. This is the part I haven't been able to express properly:



    I think people confuse genetics, populations and migrations (or settling down) with ethnicity and nationality, both of which imo are social constructs. Sicily has Norman and Vandal influence, but contrary to what the History Channel is portraying, the Normans (rather, the people now known as Normans) weren't all Vikings, or all descendants of Hrolfr/Rollo. Some Vikings settled in Normandy and climbed into the genetic soup that was already in what is now France. I suppose that soup splashed around.
    That's exactly right. Not only were the Normans who arrived in Sicily not all that "Viking like" by that time, but there were very few of them. This was a small group of men who were adventurers and struck it big. Even if there are traces remaining of their yDna in some areas, their autosomal impact must be quite small. (Of course, if one were to check the dna of the baronial families in Sicily, who have been intermarrying for hundreds of years, their results might be different.)

    Another thing to keep in mind is that there is indeed a genetic border at the Alps. Are they impermeable? No, of course they aren't. The Celts and the Langobards went around them. However, no Italian is going to get scores like Germans or Scandinavians or the British. We have our own genetic signature.

  4. #29
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    I was surprised that my AncestryDna and 23andMe resulsts were so dissimilar, it left me a little confused.

    I heard that 23andMe was more accurate but AncestryDna seemed way more precise according to my prior knowledge and ancestry research.

    Do any others have thoughts on this matter or experience something similar?

  5. #30
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    Hi there,

    I am a French journalist looking for a woman (preferably living in France or UK, but another European country could do) who had her DNA analysed for health-related reasons -like finding her risks to have a specific disease- and for whom the results had an impact (like making further analysis, changing her way of living etc). I work for Santé magazine, a popular publication on health issues and the story is a piece of about two pages with a picture. The idea is to debate on the right to know one's DNA structure (is it really useful? stressful? ethical?).

    You can reach me if you're interested in telling me your story.

    Best regards,

    Pauline

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulineVe13 View Post
    Hi there,

    I am a French journalist looking for a woman (preferably living in France or UK, but another European country could do) who had her DNA analysed for health-related reasons -like finding her risks to have a specific disease- and for whom the results had an impact (like making further analysis, changing her way of living etc). I work for Santé magazine, a popular publication on health issues and the story is a piece of about two pages with a picture. The idea is to debate on the right to know one's DNA structure (is it really useful? stressful? ethical?).

    You can reach me if you're interested in telling me your story.

    Best regards,

    Pauline
    Hello there Pauline, welcome to Eupedia. I'm no woman but I find that Dna Ancestory has opened doors in history that I've overlooked before getting Dna tested; who knew that there was Wendish assimilation in Germany for example :)
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wends

    In the end we are all a mix of Ancient Civilizations but in the end we all descend from a common Ancestor in Africa; I guess you could say Adam;Ydna A and Eve;Mtdna L.

    For me personally, DNA testing teaches us that no country is Purely decended from just one Ancient civilization but Multiple civilizations.

  7. #32
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulineVe13 View Post
    Hi there,

    I am a French journalist looking for a woman (preferably living in France or UK, but another European country could do) who had her DNA analysed for health-related reasons -like finding her risks to have a specific disease- and for whom the results had an impact (like making further analysis, changing her way of living etc). I work for Santé magazine, a popular publication on health issues and the story is a piece of about two pages with a picture. The idea is to debate on the right to know one's DNA structure (is it really useful? stressful? ethical?).

    You can reach me if you're interested in telling me your story.

    Best regards,

    Pauline
    The older we get the fewer surprises we find in health analyses of our DNA. Pretty much all manifested itself already. I think the biggest interest in it will be for parents of small kids. They might want to raise their kids in accordance to their genetic predispositions and health risks.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

  8. #33
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    I always thought that blond hair and blue eyes in Sicily could be considered a legacy of Norman invaders.

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