How to interpret my having ethnicities inconsistent with my parents?

3

According to MyHeritage's interpretation of our 23andme lab results:

  • My father is 93.7% European (90.5% Ashkenazi, 2% Baltic, and 1.2% Italian), 5.5% West Asian, and .8% Central Asian.
  • My mother is 90.7% European (consisting of 84.6% Ashkenazi and 6.1% Iberian), 5.1% West Asian, and 4.2% Central Asian
  • I am 96.8% European (95.4% Ashkenazi and 1.4% Italian), 2.4% Middle Eastern, and .8% West Asian (consisting of .8% Mizrahi Jewish - Iranian/Iraqi)

The subregions of West Asia and Central Asia are not reported for my parents.

DNA tests confirm that my presumed parents are my biological parents (not that I'd ever doubted it). These ethnicity estimates seem suspect to me for several reasons:

  1. I would not expect to have more European ancestry (96.8%) than either of my parents (93.7% and 90.7%). While I understand that 2 parents who are each 50% European could give birth to a child who is 100% European (if the child got each parent's full set of European DNA), this seems unlikely.
  2. Ditto for my percentage of Ashkenazi ancestry (95.4% vs. their 90.5% and 84.6%).
  3. I am shown as having 2.4% Middle Eastern DNA, while they have none.
  4. I am shown as having .8% Mizrahi Jewish DNA, while they have only generalized West Asian ancestry.

Do these results seem credible to you, or do they indicate flaws with MyHeritage's methodology?

Ellen Spertus

Posted 2018-06-29T21:51:06.213

Reputation: 2 213

2Sorry, personal opinion here, but that's why they are called estimates. Examples abound of oddities from all the analysers. – AdrianB38 – 2018-06-29T22:50:57.273

Related question about tagging: https://genealogy.meta.stackexchange.com/q/3355/6485

– ColeValleyGirl – 2018-07-01T10:03:39.130

Answers

6

Unfortunately, the DNA companies imply way more accuracy to their estimates by including percentages to one decimal point. Let me rephrase your results as they should have been stated:

  • My father is from 85% to 100% European (85% to 100% Ashkenazi, 0% to 10% Baltic, and 0% to 10% Italian), 0% to 10% West Asian, and 0% to 5% Central Asian.
  • My mother is 80% to 100% European (consisting of 75% to 100% Ashkenazi and 0% to 10% Iberian), 0% to 10% West Asian, and 0% to 10% Central Asian
  • I am 85% to 100% European (85% to 100% Ashkenazi and 0% to 5% Italian), 0% to 5% Middle Eastern, and 0% and 5% West Asian (consisting of 0% to 5% Mizrahi Jewish - Iranian/Iraqi)

Now all the inconsistencies' you ask about are gone.

lkessler

Posted 2018-06-29T21:51:06.213

Reputation: 16 148

True, although the Mizrahi Jewish seems to come from nowhere. – Ellen Spertus – 2018-06-30T01:32:15.487

... which means it's likely 0% – lkessler – 2018-06-30T01:51:01.617

Any idea how they could have come up with ancestries not present in my parents? – Ellen Spertus – 2018-06-30T12:15:15.970

4

Same way you could match a person who neither of your parents matches. Either both parents are below the threshold of being a match with you getting enough to put you over the limit, or yours is a false match. Remember that ethnicity estimates are based on matches to people the company selected as representative. Each company will give you different results. See my post: A Tale of Four DNA Tests: http://www.beholdgenealogy.com/blog/?p=2516

– lkessler – 2018-06-30T13:50:57.467