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Why DNA Ancestry Tests Have Questionable Results

26 May 2021 9:38 AM | Anonymous

An article by James Fleury and published in the web site should be required reading by genealogists who have had their DNA tested by any of the DNA testing companies. In short, it says to don't believe what they tell you.

Perhaps a longer and more accurate answer is to always read the fine print that accompanies the test results and consider what it tells you. Unfortunately, many test recipients don't do that.

Amongst other things, the article advises:

University of Otago professor of biological anthropology Lisa Matisoo-Smith told me these autosomal DNA ancestry tests can be "misleading" for people as she claimed there are no biological markers that can assign people to any specific population with anything even close to 100 percent accuracy.

She said while the DNA markers are real and there is a chance, given a combination of specific markers that someone's ancestry is from a particular region, there is no way of being 100 percent certain the markers are specific to that area and claimed it is unlikely they are at all.

Matisoo-Smith said this is because the companies providing these tests have identified what they call "ancestry specific markers" and while they call these markers "specific" they are only found at a higher frequency in particular ethnic groups or regions.

There is a lot more details listed in the article, however. You can read it for yourself at:


  • 27 May 2021 4:01 AM | Anonymous
    The title of this article should be "Why DNA Ancestry Tests Have Questionable Ethnicity Results"

    Ethnicity predictions and estimates are just that. Some people may receive results that match their expectations - others may not. Different predictions from different companies. Changing predictions. This science is still evolving as more reference populations are added to the databases and the algorithms improve. We are not there yet.

    Concentrate on your match lists which are accurate.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 27 May 2021 11:34 AM | Anonymous
    I agree that this is a misleading title for this article. Anybody who has taken more than one DNA test sees the large variance in ethnicity results.
    Copy and pass on the DNA Explained article to your genealogy group, Facebook groups, etc., to aid in explanation that ethnicity is merely an Estimate, not factual, and is just a good marketing tool.
    Link  •  Reply

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