The 23andMe Ancestry Algorithm Got an Update

23andMe announced (in Autumn of 2020), that they are making another upgrade to their Ancestry Composition. The upgrade to the analytics will improve the accuracy, as well as reduce the amount of “unassigned” and non-specific ancestry assignments.

Some 23andMe users may see some pretty big shifts in their results. For example, many should expect an increase in their most common ancestry proportion and a reduction in their broadly ancestries. In parallel with this update to the Ancestry Composition analysis, 23andMe is updating their reference dataset for their recent ancestor locations feature. You might see your recent ancestor locations and match strengths change as well.

These updates are part of 23andMe’s ongoing efforts to improve their customer offerings. Since 2014, 23andMe has added or expanded dozens of reference populations, but the core Ancestry Composition algorithm has remained almost completely unchanged. Until now.In 2020, their Research and Development team developed a new approach that dramatically improves accuracy, while reducing both unassigned and nonspecific ancestry.

23andMe points out that when they update the algorithms or the reference populations used to predict your ancestry, your results are expected to change. That is why they call Ancestry Composition a living analysis of your DNA. For the most part, these changes should be minor and hopefully provide you with more detail about your ancestral origins.

Everything 23andMe does is based on science and they want to be transparent about what they are doing. Each time they make an update, they share it in their “Change Log”,which can be found at the bottom of the Scientific Details section of your Ancestry Composition Report.

This update is only available to customers on the most recent version (Version 5) of 23andMe’s genotyping platform. You can check out which version you are on near the bottom of the “Personal Information” section of your profile settings page.

Related Articles on

23andMe Launched a New Family Health History Tree

23andMe Explains Your Privacy Protections

23andMe Feature Automates Genetic Family Trees

< Return To Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.