23andme Ancestry Composition: Comparing My DNA

Yesterday, April 25, 2018, was DNA Day and 23andme.com had a “special”. Ancestry.com users could upload their raw DNA file to 23andme and receive 3 health reports (very basic) and ancestry composition.

I decided to do an experiment. I already tested with 23andme, but none of my other family members have. (I tested with Ancestry and 23andme separately.) For this experiment, I uploaded my Ancestry DNA raw data file to a new 23andme account to see how the “ancestry composition” reports vary.

Since both tests used MY dna, they should be the same, right? Wrong.

Here is my ancestry composition report from the test I sent in to 23andme to have tested:

23andme orig

Here is my ancestry composition report from my AncestryDNA raw data file that I uploaded to 23andme yesterday:

23andme ancestry.JPG

Here is a side-by-side comparison:

23andme kit provided 23andme with raw data upload from AncestryDNA
British & Irish: United Kingdom 60.60% 55.40%
French & German: Netherlands 20.80% 22.70%
Scandinavian: Norway 3.50% 1.80%
Iberian 0.90%
Broadly Northwestern European 13.70% 19.40%
Broadly Southern European 0.30%  –
Broadly European 0.30% 0.70%
Native American 0.10%

Interesting, isn’t it? My favorite part is having .1% Native American in one test. POINT ONE PERCENT! Not even a full percent or half a percent! How is .1% even calculable?!

Random GIF to describe how I’m feeling.

Both tests do put me in the United Kingdom/Netherlands/Norway categories, however, on the 2nd test, I have subcategories listed: Germany and Switzerland. Both tests also include Ireland.

One test says I have small amounts of Iberian and Southern European, but the other test does not. The European percentages also range too much for my liking.

Lesson? Don’t put much faith into your European ancestry estimates. I think some populations like Ashkenazi Jewish will have an easier time identifying ancestry due to the uniqueness of the population. Europe is just a melting pot due to migrations, invasions, etc. and I really have no idea how to sort things out.

This doesn’t explain why 23andme isn’t more consistent with their guesses.

Lucy GIF for more of my facial expressions during this experiment.

I am not trying to dissuade anyone from buying a DNA test. If you want it purely for your ancestry composition, you might be surprised at your results.  If you want to find relatives or build your family tree, I think AncestryDNA is the best test to go with. If you want health information, you can test at 23andme, or test with AncestryDNA and upload your raw data to a website like Promethease or Codegen.eu.

If you want to chat more about DNA testing, feel free to email me at downhomegenealogy@gmail.com.

One thought on “23andme Ancestry Composition: Comparing My DNA

  1. Oh, wow—that really proves the point about how unscientific those ethnicity results are. I have tested or uploaded to just about every site, and they all show me as somewhere between 97% and 100% Ashkenazi Jewish—but I already knew that! 🙂


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