Ancestry Expands Reference Panel for More Precise Results and New Regions

Ancestry announced that their team of scientists have increased the AncestryDNA reference panel to more than double its previous size with samples from more places around the world, resulting in the latest update to AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates.

Over the next several months, AncestryDNA customers may receive updated ethnicity estimates, thanks to the expanded reference panel, which allows AncestryDNA to determine ethnic breakdowns with a higher degree of precision. This means there may be some changes to your results.

Previously, AncestryDNA had North and South America as two large regions: Native American-Andean and Native American-North, Central, South. The new update enabled them to refine the areas into 11 smaller ones. AncestryDNA customers who received one of the older regions before the update will most likely have one of the newer, more precise regions, instead. Those regions include: Indigenous Eastern South America, Indigenous Cuba, and Indigenous Americas-Mexico, among others.

Some customers may lose a small percentage region as a result of this update. This can happen if that ethnicity has been re-assigned to a nearby region. This is because people from neighboring areas tend to look similar genetically.

AncestryDNA customers whose ancestors lived in Africa can also expect to see changes with this update. Ancestry provided an example of what that might look like. Someone who has Nigeria and Benin/Togo may see an increase in their Nigeria percentage and a decrease in their Benin/Togo region.

This advancement enables AncestryDNA to deliver improved results in West Africa and globally to enhance the experience across diverse populations including improvements and region realignment in northwestern Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and Southeast Asia.

The expanded and more precise reference panel update is completely free to existing members and provided to new customers at no additional cost. Ancestry encourages customers to look at their ethnicity results regularly to explore your latest estimate.

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