AncestryDNA uses two different approaches to figure out the regions in your DNA Story. In one we compare your DNA to the DNA from people in a reference panel. (The second uses Genetic Communities. Read more about communities.)
Using a Reference Panel
A reference panel is made up of people with a long family history in one place or as part of one group. To make it into the AncestryDNA reference panel, these folks need two things. First, they need a paper trail that proves their family history. Then, they must have their ethnicity confirmed at the DNA level. It is not easy to make it into the panel!
To tell your DNA story, we compare your DNA to the people in the reference panel and look for DNA you share. If some of your DNA is similar to the DNA of folks from Senegal, for example, we assign that part of your DNA to our Senegal region. And so on until we have looked at your whole DNA sample.
On your results list, regions based on the reference panel have a solid-circle icon that looks like this:
Building a Reference Panel
The current AncestryDNA reference panel has 44,703 DNA samples that divide the world into 70 overlapping regions and groups.
Here is the breakdown of how many individuals are in each of the 70 regions:
|Region||Number of Samples|
|Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander||24|
|Benin & Togo||466|
|Cameroon, Congo & Western Bantu Peoples||533|
|Eastern Bantu Peoples||138|
|Eastern Europe and Russia||1,084|
|Eastern Polynesia & New Zealand Maori||188|
|England & Northwestern Europe||1,326|
|Ethiopia & Eritrea||85|
|Greece & Albania||405|
|Indigenous Americas–Colombia & Venezuela||2,500|
|Indigenous Eastern South America||2,873|
|Indigenous Haiti & Dominican Republic||2,858|
|Indigenous Puerto Rico||4,791|
|Iran / Persia||627|
|Ivory Coast & Ghana||236|
|Khoisan, Aka & Mbuti Peoples||38|
|Mongolia & Central Asia-North||229|
|Southern Bantu Peoples||162|
|Southern Japanese Islands||42|
|Turkey & the Caucasus||393|
Still curious to understand more? Cool--we're glad you're as interested in genetics as we are. Check out our white paper on ethnicity prediction.