Ancestry (part III)

If you have kept up with some of my posts, you’ll realize that one of my interests is genealogy.

According to 23AndMe, I’m actually not 100% European. Most of the ancestry results match the previous interpretations:

► 88% Southern European: 75% Iberian and the remaining 13% is made up mostly of Italian and some Balkan.
► 9% Northwestern European, consisting mostly of British/Irish and some French/German.
► 2% Ashkenazi Jewish.

The remaining 1% contains traces of:

► Middle Eastern/North African
► East Asian/Native American
► Subsaharan African

The following picture shows an estimate of how many generations ago there was the most recent ancestor for each of the ancestries that make up my DNA:

AM - 23andMe

While I already knew about my Italian, British/Irish and Jewish ancestry, the fact that I show French/German and Balkan DNA is news to me. But what I found surprising is that I seem to have some African and Native American ancestry. Yet when most of your ancestors are from countries that colonized Africa and America, it doesn’t look like a remote possibility after all.

My reports indicate that I have 281 Neanderthal variants, even though it accounts for less than 4% of my DNA. Neanderthals were ancient humans who interbred with modern humans before becoming extinct 40,000 years ago.

It’s also mentioned that my maternal haplogroup is H4a1b, while my paternal haplogroup is E-M5021:

► H4a1b traces back to a woman who lived less than 8,500 years ago. The H4 branch appears to have arisen in southeastern Europe or the Black Sea region about 12,000 years ago, during the final stages of the Ice Age. It soon spun off its own sub-branch, H4a, which spread north and west from the Caucasus region or neighboring Turkey into eastern Europe nearly 9,000 years ago, possibly in association with the spread of farming. The haplogroup is most common today in Poland, where about 5% of the population carries it. The next highest concentration of H4a is in Ireland, where about 3% of the population falls into the category. Those people may be descended from women who migrated to Britain and Ireland with 5th- and 6th-century Saxon invaders or during the later Viking period.

root_for_your_roots (1)

► E-M5021 (also known as E1b1b1 or E-M35) stems from the common ancestor of haplogroup E-M215, a man who likely lived nearly 48,000 years ago in northern Africa. His descendants migrated throughout the region above the Sahara Desert over thousands of years. Some of them journeyed even farther, leaving Africa for the Middle East. It was there that humans first learned to domesticate cereals and livestock and completely transformed their way of life. In fact, farming was such a successful strategy that populations boomed, sparking waves of migration into southeastern Europe nearly 8,000 years ago. Some of these migrating farmers bore the E-M215 haplogroup. Over time, their sons and many generations that followed continued to migrate and diverge, giving rise to many new subgroups of E-M215. Today, these branches are seen in populations throughout northern and eastern Africa, as well as the Middle East and eastern Europe.


By contrast, offers this breakdown:

43EF7C7C-36A7-4F4D-904D-2536A6F56759 estimates the following:


And gives similar estimates to the two previous ones, but it includes some North African ancestry as well.

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