Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Is English DNA different from German DNA?

A year ago I blogged about the paucity of identifiable German DNA in the current round of ethnicity estimates: Where Did All The German-Americans Come From? In that post I described the ethnicity reports of my wife who descends from 5 great-grandparents who have roots in what is today Northern Germany and Northwest Poland. The other 3 were from Ireland, Scotland and England. 

This past weekend I was struck with the similarity of the ethnicity estimates Debbie Kennett self reported and those predicted for my wife. The only problem is that all of Debbie's known ancestral lines appear to have been in the British Isles for at least the last few centuries and most of them have been in England. 

As I read Debbie's post, Comparing admixture results from AncestryDNA, 23andMe and Family Tree DNA, I speculated as to whether it would be obvious, to those shown the test reports for Debbie and those for my wife Denise, which woman had ancestry almost completely from the Isles and which had ancestry predominately from Germany/Prussia. I'll let you be the judge. 

Ethnicity Estimates Debbie Denise
Europe  100% 100%
Europe West 47% 15%
Great Britain  21% 33%
Ireland  20% 32%
Iberian Peninsula 8%
Europe East 12%
Scandanavia 8%
Trace 4%
myOrigins (FTDNA)
European 100.00% 98.00%
British Isles 57.00% 78.00%
Western & Central Europe 22.00%
Southern Europe 12.00%
Scandanavia  5.00% 3.00%
Finland & Northern Siberia 3.00% 6.00%
Eastern Europe 1.00% 11.00%
Asia Minor 2.00%
European 100.00% 99.80%
British & Irish 56.10% 42.60%
French & German 13.40% 5.90%
Scandanavian 4.20% 8.80%
Northern European 24.00% 36.80%
Eastern European 3.20%
Iberian 0.40%
Southern European 0.20% 0.30%
European 1.90% 2.20%
Yakut 0.10%
North African 0.10%


  1. Sir Walter Bodmer said at Cardiff in 2012 that if the PoBI DNA Project could not generate a fine structure for the British Isles it would stand no chance with Europe - too many wars and associated population movements (and sleeping with the enemy). So I would expect to see differences. Also the PoBI DNA Project used hospital samples for their European comparisons, no 4 grandparents, 50 mile criterion was applied to participants, unlike Britain.

  2. What about African Americans. If any of the data useful for them>

  3. H James,
    Thank you for your question. DNA data can be useful to African Americans in many ways. A couple of years ago I blogged about African American Dowells in Wilkes County, NC who descend from Henderson Dowell. Henderson was enslaved by my first cousin - five times removed. He was a young man at the time of the Civil War.

    I was curious to know if one of my European American Dowells could have fathered Henderson. DNA tests of Henderson's living descendants show most of them are a fairly even mix between African genes and European genes. However, we were finally able to answer my original question. Although as many as a third of African American men in some parts of the South have had at least one European American male in their paternal line, Henderson Dowell was not one of them. Living male Dowell descendants of Henderson come from a male haplogroup that can be traced directly back to Africa.

    Although ethnicity prediction within a particular corner of Africa is generally as challenging as predicting ethnicity within a particular corner of Europe. This sub-field of population genetics is getting better all the time as our DNA database grow.

  4. Wow!! this is really fantastic research. as I think DNA from different countries are different to determine people's feature and I also want to know if there is any difference between Chinese DNA and Hong Kong DNA?cp