FTDNA’s myOrigins

Sep 24th, 2014 | By | Category: Joyce DNA Research

Autosomal DNA is that we inherit in equal parts from our parents who in turn inherited it from their parents.   Therefore for each generation we go back the number of ancestors who contribute to our DNA doubles.  It therefore follows that our siblings should have a similar mix of DNA that we do although not identical unless you happen to be an identical twin, and that our children will share roughly half of their DNA with us.

Familytree DNA (FTDNA) released their myOrigins functionality in early 2014 and it’s interesting but I have to say that it shows a large bias towards the contents of the reference data which is collected from four sources –

  • GeneByGene DNA customer database
  • Human Genome Diversity Project
  • International HapMap Project
  • Estonian Biocentre

(See https://www.familytreedna.com/learn/family-finder-pages/myorigins-methodology/ for further information)

That lead to the following table of reference populations which now answers a question I had about why my Aboriginal ancestry does not show up in myOrigins because you will see from the table that it is missing.

Table of reference populations

Population N Population N
Armenian 46 Lithuanian 6
Ashkenazi 60 Masai 140
British 39 Mbuti 15
Burmese 8 Moroccan 7
Cambodian 26 Mozabite 24
Danish 13 Norwegian 17
Filipino 20 Pashtun 33
Finnish 49 Polish 35
French 17 Portuguese 25
German 17 Russian 41
Gujarati 31 Saudi 19
Iraqi 12 Scottish 43
Irish 45 Slovakian 12
Italian 30 Spanish 124
Japanese 147 Surui 21
Karitiana 23 Swedish 33
Korean 15 Ukrainian 10
Kuwaiti 14 Yoruba 136

I am in a somewhat unique position with my three times great-grandmother being Australian Aboriginal which is confirmed in my mitochondrial DNA which shows my Haplogroup as being P4b.   That being the case I would expect that I would carry around 1/32 of my DNA being aboriginal or roughly 3%.  But as you can see on the chart below FTDNA does not record any.

joyce laurie myorigins 20140921

My sisters should also show the same percentage as I do but again you’ll see in the charts below that they also do not show any.    The interesting thing is that the mixture between the three of us inherited from the same two parents is quite different with both Karen and Debra showing some Middle Eastern connections and Debra sowing a whopping 31% Scandinavian.

joyce karen myorigins 20140921

joyce debra myorigins 20140921

Then let’s look at my two sons below, also no indications of the Aboriginal heritage from my side of the family and both with far higher Westerna and Central European DNA than I do, presumably from their mother.

joyce glen myorigins 20140921

joyce luke myorigins 20140921


Now let’s look at my results from the company 23andme which do show 1.9% Oceanian but also 0.3% South Asian and another 0.3% East Asian and Native American.   This latter is probably indications of my aboriginal ancestors journey through Asia to Australia as much as 50,000 years ago.

joyce laurie 23andme genetic mixture 20140921

I would expect that as more people test the reference populations will become larger and more accurate so that one day I hope that my Aboriginal Ancestry will be reflected properly in these displays.  And that’s important for me because that line of my Ancestry has been in Australia for 50,000 years, long before the Native American ancestors crossed from Siberia into the Americas, long before the rest of my ancestors moved from the fertile Middle East and the Russian Steppes into Western and Northern Europe.  Long before the Neanderthal interbred with our other ancestors and eventually dies out as a breed.

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