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Thread: Ethnicity estimates and phenotype?

  1. #1
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    Ethnicity estimates and phenotype?

    Hello everyone,
    I would like to ask something that I am curious about. Firstly, based on various ethnicity estimates (MyHeritage, 23andme, Ancestry, Gedmatch, Geneplaza, Gencove etc.) I appear to be more similar "ethnicity-wise" to my mother than to my father. I do not have much knowledge on the subject, so it seems strange to me. I guess there must be a rather simple explanation?
    Secondly, my phenotype, my looks, are more similar to my father's. At first sight it seems to be a bit of a paradox, but probably again it is something common? I guess there are also some very random processes at work, or not?
    Just curious to hear a possible explanation.
    Thank you!

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    I think you can download a program on the internet that tells you how much of the genes you inherited from each of your parents. But genes inherited is not only physically aperences... Another interesting thing I'd that you may have inherited traits that are very visible to the eyes like nose, heafshape.....

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    Y-DNA haplogroup
    J1-PF7263 (BY38105)
    MtDNA haplogroup
    A4a1 (A1a)

    Ethnic group
    Epirus, Vlach, Arvanite, Kephalonia, Kea
    Country: Greece



    Thank you, magicalM, yes indeed...I realize that one inherits almost the same percentage from each parent but my ethnicity estimates are more similar to those of my mother. And then my appearance not, which is kinda funny but as you say, appearance is easily influenced by a couple of visible traits. However, still it is a little strange to my logic how my ethnicity estimates can resemble more those of one parent. Probably some random inheritance of some ethnicity elements over others.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    With my 23andMe results, it was quite easy to see which chromosome came from which parent due to their region painting colors and the fact my mother is fairly purebred regarding their regional ancestries (87% British and Irish, 99.5% NW European) and my father being more varied in his European ancestries (the same percentage as my mother, but split up into more regions)

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    Y-DNA haplogroup
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    Ethnic group
    Epirus, Vlach, Arvanite, Kephalonia, Kea
    Country: Greece



    Thank you, Joey37! My father and I have tested at 23andme but my mother not yet. If she tests too, I might be able to recognize similar patterns to the ones you describe.
    Are your ethnicity estimates more similar to one of your two parents? Or are they more like a combination of the two?

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    Y-DNA haplogroup
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    Ethnic group
    Epirus, Vlach, Arvanite, Kephalonia, Kea
    Country: Greece



    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Joey37, I just checked my 23andme account again and I noticed a sort of calculation of inherited percentages between me and my parents (even though my mom has not tested, they can infer this from the comparison of my results to those of my father). Thank you for pointing this out, I had almost ignored this section in the past. So there it shows how I have inherited 45% Balkan from my mom and 36% from my dad. Maybe this difference is what makes my various estimates more similar to those of my mother.

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    That's not exactly how phenotype & genetic 'ethnicity' work.

    Phenotype genes are separate to ethnicity except for defining characteristics [e.g. African DNA - potentially darker skin (no offense), Italian/Jewish/Greek/etc DNA - potentially larger nose (no offense), etc.]. Otherwise every single person of a given ethnicity would be completely identical to one another.


    What you describe is nothing unusual. I am genetically more like my father & look like a mixture of the two. My sibling is genetically more like mum & looks more like dad.

    And like how people can inherit pieces of ethnic DNA from ancestors that neither parent or other relatives people can inherit phenotype traits from ancestors that neither parents or relatives do. My wild "out-of-control" curly hair (which neither parent & no siblings, uncles, aunts or cousins have) comes from a great-grandparent on one side of the family.

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    Y-DNA haplogroup
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    Ethnic group
    Epirus, Vlach, Arvanite, Kephalonia, Kea
    Country: Greece



    Interesting, Carved, thank you, I didn't know. I assumed phenotype and ethnicity genes in some way were connected. Hence, the game we all do of "guessing the ethnicity" or even the area of a country one comes from based on his looks. Like, I can sometimes guess the place of Greece one comes from just by looking at them. I mean other people who are interested in such things can do that too, obviously, I am not unique in this . So it surprised me when I discovered that my ethnicity estimates show mostly a mainland, northwestern Greek like my mom whereas my looks (I always thought) were more "islander" Greek like my dad. I guess I was thinking in a more simplistic or linear, non-scientific way. Thanks for pointing this difference out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandra_K View Post
    Interesting, Carved, thank you, I didn't know. I assumed phenotype and ethnicity genes in some way were connected. Hence, the game we all do of "guessing the ethnicity" or even the area of a country one comes from based on his looks. Like, I can sometimes guess the place of Greece one comes from just by looking at them.
    Alexandra maybe I didn't explain it properly. Predominantly genetically Greeks will look Greek. But would someone say all Greeks from Crete, as example, look exactly identical to all Greeks from Athens? Different 'ethnic' genetics beneath the "Greek" genes would influence phenotype.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandra_K View Post
    I mean other people who are interested in such things can do that too, obviously, I am not unique in this .
    Oh I know people are curious. It's a curious thing how genetics work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexandra_K View Post
    So it surprised me when I discovered that my ethnicity estimates show mostly a mainland, northwestern Greek like my mom whereas my looks (I always thought) were more "islander" Greek like my dad. I guess I was thinking in a more simplistic or linear, non-scientific way. Thanks for pointing this difference out.
    Ah. Got ya. Do you know your parents' ancestry for multiple generations? Might explain this appearance. Like said my very curly hair is attributed to a single great-grandparent but no close relatives have the same.

    There's also the potential of poor references for areas from a genetic standpoint. These ethnic tests match you to the closest references & if those references don't exist they'll take the closest "proxy" reference. I'd assume Island Greeks are not referenced, sampled or as numerous as Mainland Greeks in almost all genetic tests.

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    Y-DNA haplogroup
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    Country: Greece



    Ok, now I get what you meant better. Yes, these are complex processes, not so easy to grasp immediately.
    I guess you are right to some degree about islander Greeks being underrepresented in big companies, but we have had also very detailed reports done by LM genetics and still my reports tend to be more similar to my mom's and more "mainland" Greek. There must be as you say just some randomness in the inheritance of "ethnicity" genes which is at the same time not always in complete accordance to phenotype. Thank you again for the explanation

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