New Autosomal DNA Database Has Metapopulation Results

Our new atDNA version contains a major revision to the population matches used in DNA Consultants’ DNA Fingerprint family of autosomal ancestry products. Released on May 13, 2011, the new version represents statistical work pursued over the past two years, primarily enhancements involving metapopulations. Naming conventions were also harmonized so that customers could more readily understand their results and make easier comparisons across populations.

MetapopulationPrevious versions incorporated 58 metapopulations, which were used to guide report writers in evaluating the other population matches. The new version has 87 metapopulations reducing the 371 populations to group labels such as White (formerly designated Caucasian), Native American, Pacific Islanders and Levantine (Syrian/Lebanese/Palestinian).

Some improvements are as follows. African ancestry was divided into West, Central and East. Chinese was distinguished as North Chinese or South Chinese. Slavic was grouped as East Slavic, West Slavic and South Slavic. The large number of Indian data sets were reanalyzed into regions.

The new feature operates in the background of DNA Fingerprint Plus reports and is specifically called out in the newly introduced Native American DNA Fingerprint Plus, where a Native American metapopulation index is calculated.

A sample metapopulation sort appears below. Here the random match probabilities are converted to probabilities expressed as odds. This number expresses the chance your unique profile has of cropping up in the given metapopulation, in other words, the probability of your having some ancestry there. According to these figures, the sample profile has about 3 times the odds of appearing in French, German, British and Scandinavians as in Russians and Balkan Slavic people like Croatians and Serbians (East Slavic, South Slavic).

Meta PopulationFrequency
French – German1 in 933 billion
British1 in 1 trillion
Scandinavian1 in 1 trillion
South Slavic1 in 3 trillion
East Slavic1 in 3 trillion
White1 in 4 trillion
Levantine1 in 4 trillion
Alpine1 in 4 trillion
West Slavic1 in 5 trillion
Middle Eastern1 in 5 trillion

As an example of a metapopulation, the North and South American Indian data used in the Native American definition are:

Brazilian – Belem Amazonians (n = 325)
Colombian – Andean, Amazonian, & Orinoquian (n = 846)
Ecuadorian – Kichwas (n = 115)
Guatemalan Mestizo (n = 200)
Native American  – Arizona – Apache (n = 99)
Native American  – Minnesota (n = 191)
Native American – Alaskan Athabaskan (n = 101)
Native American – Alaskan Inupiat (n = 109)
Native American – Alaskan Yupik (n = 100)
Native American – Arizona – Navajo (n = 93)
Native American – Choles (Huichol) – Chiapas, Mexico
Native American – Florida (n = 105)
Native American – Lumbee (n = 106)
Native American – Michigan (n = 29)
Native American – Minnesota (n = 100)
Native American – Minnesota (n = 203)
Native American – Northern Ontario (n = 63)
Native American – Northern Ontario (n=129)
Native American – Salishan (n = 104)
Native American – Salishan (n = 47)
Native American – Saskatchewan (n = 40)