AncestryDNA® ethnicity estimates now have even greater precision.

DNA science is always evolving. We’re proud to announce our latest ethnicity estimate, where we’ve divided large regions in Europe, Asia, and Africa into many smaller, more precise regions.

See your new results

See what’s changed

The new AncestryDNA® ethnicity estimate includes more regions around the world.
See what’s new using the interactive map below.

A larger reference panel and a freshly updated algorithm

Your DNA doesn’t change, but the tools we use to analyze your DNA and determine your ethnicity is constantly evolving. With each update, we’re able to bring more precision to AncestryDNA® results.

Thanks to our freshly updated algorithm and expanded reference panel, we’ve been able to divide larger regions, like the United Kingdom and Ireland, Italy, China, Japan, the Philippines, Eastern Europe, and Southern Africa into smaller regions. We’ve also added Cyprus as a brand new region.

Inside our latest breakthrough

See what makes this ethnicity update so special and
how our science team made it happen.

How would you like to begin?

There are many paths to finding your family story. Whichever way you choose tracing your family generations back with a family tree or uncovering your ethnicity with AncestryDNA®—we’ll be here to help you.

Search billions of records and discover your family story

Get started

Uncover your ethnicity and more with AncestryDNA®

Explore AncestryDNA

Frequently asked questions about our updated ethnicity estimate

Details about the new estimates

  • Ancestry is committed to enhancing our customers’ experiences and supporting journeys of personal discovery. While your DNA stays the same, our science is constantly improving to provide more precise and informative ethnicity estimates. We have two major enhancements powering this update:
    • More samples in our reference panel, which expands the number and diversity of populations we can compare your DNA to
    • An updated algorithm that better compares your DNA to our reference panel

    Overall, you may see an improvement in your estimates as percentages change due to these updates.
  • Creating an ethnicity estimate based on your DNA sample is a complex process based on probability, statistics, shared DNA, the AncestryDNA database, and ongoing research and science. AncestryDNA calculates your ethnicity estimate by comparing your DNA to a reference panel made up of DNA samples from thousands of people, representing 70 groups. Because our reference panel and the way we analyze your DNA both change as we get more data, your ethnicity results can change as we get more data, too. Click here for a deeper dive into your ethnicity estimate.
  • For this update, Ancestry’s team of scientists increased the AncestryDNA reference panel size and updated the algorithm we use to make ethnicity estimates.
    • Updated reference panel has more samples from more parts of the world to increase the total number of regions available for analysis to 70. We calculate your AncestryDNA ethnicity estimate by comparing your DNA to a reference panel made up of thousands of DNA samples from people with a long family history in one place or within one group. Our reference panel is robust due to the millions of family trees linked to our DNA customers.
    • Updated algorithm better compares your DNA to our reference panel DNA samples. Our algorithm is simply the steps and science we use to actually compare your DNA to the 70 different regions we can identify with our reference panel and determine your estimate.

    Most users may see an improvement in ethnicity estimates as percentages change due to these updates but only users who are impacted by the new or updated regions will see these new or updated regions in their ethnicity estimates. Ancestry will continue to expand the diversity of our products to provide more precise ethnicity estimates to our customers.
  • To estimate your genetic ethnicity, we compare your DNA to the DNA of people with deep family histories from specific parts of the world. This group of individuals is called our reference panel. The unique AncestryDNA reference panel is a collection of thousands of DNA samples from around the globe. It’s unique because most samples come from our database, and their heritage is verified through Ancestry family trees.

Details about new or changed regions you might see

  • With this update, we have expanded our reference panel and updated the algorithm we use to generate ethnicity estimates. The main result is that we have been able to break larger regions—like England, Wales & Northwestern Europe; Ireland & Scotland; Italy; China; Japan; the Philippines; Cameroon, Congo & Southern Bantu Peoples; and Eastern Europe & Russia—into smaller, more precise ones. In addition, we have added an additional region in Europe: Cyprus.

    You may also see other region changes. For example, overall improvements allowed us to refine the naming of the Korea and Northern China region, which is now simply Korea.
  • Over the long history of the region, there were a lot of interactions between people living in what is now modern Scotland and England. In fact, there were enough interactions that it has been difficult to tell if some DNA is more similar to the English or Scottish.

    AncestryDNA has updated our reference panel and the way we look at DNA, and we can now more easily tell people from closely related regions like these apart. This allowed us to split the United Kingdom and Ireland into four new regions--Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England & Northwestern Europe.

    People from England may be getting more Scotland than they might expect given their family history. This is a natural consequence of trying to distinguish two closely related peoples apart at just the DNA level. This update is the first time we have been able to identify these four regions separately, so don’t be surprised if we are able to make more refinements to these regions in the future.

    Learn more on  why your latest results could include more Scotland in your ethnicity estimates from Barry Starr, Ph.D., Director of Scientific Communications at Ancestry.
  • With this update, we have expanded our reference panel and updated the algorithm we use to generate ethnicity estimates. The main result is that we have been able to break larger regions, like the United Kingdom and Ireland, into smaller, more precise ones.

    You may see your England, Wales, & Northwestern Europe region now broken up into one or more of the following regions: England & Northwestern Europe, Wales, Ireland, or Scotland.
  • You may see your England, Wales & Northwestern Europe region now broken up into one or more of the following regions: England & Northwestern Europe, Wales, Ireland, or Scotland.

    Close populations will share enough DNA that some parts of your DNA might look more like a neighboring region than the region your family is from. Importantly, the mixture of these regions varies regionally throughout the country.

    This update is the first time we have been able to identify these four regions, so don’t be surprised if we are able to make more refinements to these regions in the future.
  • Over the long history of the United Kingdom and Ireland, there were a lot of interactions between what is now modern Scotland and the northern parts of Ireland. In fact, there were enough interactions that their DNA is similar enough that it has been difficult to tell if someone’s family is from the northern parts of Ireland or Scotland just from a look at their DNA.

    AncestryDNA has updated our reference panel and the way we look at DNA, and we can now more easily tell people from closely related regions like these apart. This allowed us to split the United Kingdom and Ireland into four new regions--Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England & Northwestern Europe.

    People from northern Ireland may be getting more Scotland than they might expect given their family history. This is a natural consequence of trying to distinguish two closely related peoples apart at just the DNA level.

    This update is the first time we have been able to identify these four regions, so don’t be surprised if we are able to make more refinements to these regions in the future.
  • The people from Northern Italy and France have been very close for centuries. This shared history means that France and Northern Italy share a lot of DNA too which makes them very hard to tell apart at the DNA level. As a result, our previous ethnicity estimates might have given higher France assignment to northern Italy.

    AncestryDNA has updated our reference panel and the way we look at DNA, and we can now more easily tell people from closely related regions like these apart. This allowed us to split Italy into two new regions: Northern Italy and Southern Italy.

    This split not only meant that we were better able to tell people from Northern Italy and Southern Italy apart, but we were also better able to distinguish people from France and Northern Italy.
  • We use lots of data to help us decide on the name we use for an ethnicity region. One of the most important is looking at where people get high averages in their results for a region they have deep family ties to. Our updated reference panel does a better job pinpointing ancestry from northern India than our previous Northern & Western India region. Because of that, we changed names to better reflect the genetic profiles each region represents. Many people with roots in India will still see a mix of both in their results. DNA samples for people from Bangladesh tend to look more similar to our profile for Southern India, which is why the map extends so far east and north.
  • We’re now able to identify two genetic profiles for populations native to Japan, which we’ve called Northern Japan and Southern Japanese Islands. The first is more common among people on Japan’s main islands and the other among the inhabitants of the Ryukyu Islands. Many people with Japanese roots will see a mix of both in their results.
  • We’re now able to identify two genetic profiles for populations native to China, which we’ve called Northern China and Southern China. Many people with Chinese roots will see a mix of both in their results. Depending on where they’re from, that mix will vary—and may include non-Chinese ethnicity regions as well.
  • We’re now able to identify two genetic profiles among populations native to the Philippines, which we’ve called Northern Philippines and Southern Philippines. We actually often find our Northern Philippines profile among people in several islands south of the Philippines as well, and many people with roots in the Philippines will see a mix of both profiles in their results.

Questions for existing Customers

  • This updated ethnicity estimate is provided free of charge to AncestryDNA customers.
  • No, your new ethnicity estimate will appear in your customer dashboard whether you are logged in via mobile or desktop. If you would like to view your new results in the AncestryDNA app, please ensure you have downloaded the most updated version.
  • You will be able to view and download the prior version of your ethnicity estimate in DNA Story for 90 days post update.
  • No, we can update your results without you having to provide a new sample.
  • When you receive your DNA results, they’ll include the latest ethnicity estimate.
  • As soon as your new results are ready, we will automatically apply this update. The new results will replace your current ethnicity estimate.

What should I expect from my new estimate?

  • Our expanded reference panel and updated algorithm allows us to determine your ethnic breakdown with a higher degree of precision – which may mean notable changes, such as increases or decreases in percentages from your ethnic regions.
  • Don’t worry – your DNA hasn’t changed! What’s changed is the amount of data we have available and advancements in the science we use to calculate your estimate. We’ve added thousands of additional samples to the reference panel we use to determine your ethnicity estimate. This means we can now identify 70 different world populations to compare your DNA against. We’ve also incorporated new insights in DNA science into the algorithm we use to analyze your sample. Together, our larger reference panel and latest algorithm let us provide results that are even more precise. Analyzing DNA to estimate a person’s ethnicity is at the cutting edge of science – and in a field that is evolving rapidly, we are always keeping an eye on the latest developments and improvements we can make.
  • Increased precision allows us to have more confidence in a customer’s results, which means that some regions from previous results may disappear.
  • Analyzing DNA to estimate a person’s ethnicity is at the cutting edge of science – and in a field that is evolving quickly, there will always be developments and improvements we can make. Your latest ethnicity estimate takes advantage of both recent advances in DNA analysis and a larger reference panel, which allows us to estimate your ethnicity with an even higher degree of precision.
  • We’re confident in the science behind our proprietary algorithm and the accuracy of these results. The consumer genomics industry is in its early stages and these results are as accurate as possible for where the science is today. However, we will continue to use advances in science to enhance our customers’ experiences, which means that these results will evolve over time as the resolution of DNA estimates improve. A good example of this is our ability to break up large regions into smaller, more specific regions – which means you may see more precise geographies in your ethnicity estimate over time.
  • Your latest ethnicity estimate takes advantage of both recent advances in DNA analysis and a larger reference panel, which allows us to estimate your ethnicity with a higher degree of precision. That said, your DNA is only one element of a much larger picture, and your family history and relatives play an important role in your genetic make-up, even if they are not specifically reflected in your AncestryDNA ethnicity estimate.
  • While we each inherit 50% of our DNA from our father and 50% from our mother, we do not get an equal 50/50 split of all of our parents’ DNA. This means, that if your parent only has a small percentage of DNA from a specific region, you might not inherit any of that portion of their DNA.
  • The change will not affect your DNA matches.
  • The change will not affect communities, as they are determined using a different methodology. Our proprietary Genetic Communities™ technology determines communities by identifying groups of people in our DNA network who have more matches to each other than to people in other parts of the network and searching the linked family trees of people in the community to identify ancestors who were in the same area at the same time.
  • Yes! To share your ethnicity results with friends and family outside of Ancestry, click the “Share” button on your results page. Then you can share your results via various social media or messaging channels, download an image of your results, or copy a shareable link of your results. Once you share it, anybody can use it to access a summary of your results.

Miscellaneous

  • AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates are based on available data. So, if Ancestry does not have sufficient data to identify a genetic profile for a specific population or region, your ethnicity estimate will most likely reflect neighboring regions. However, it also is important to note two factors. First, some populations do not differ enough at a genetic level to be distinguished as separate regions. Second, countries change over time, and boundaries on a map today do not necessarily represent genetic boundaries, so there may be population groups or countries that do not fall into a single region.
  • Yes. Your previous privacy settings will remain the same with this update. Additionally, you can adjust your settings at any time via your DNA Results Summary Page. We also offer a host of resources and tools that help you manage your privacy settings on our website.
  • Yes, we have published a new white paper that will be on our White Papers page.