South Asian & Melanesian results

Introduction

As the name already implies this blog is dedicated to Tracing African Roots. However many if not most Afro-descendants actually also have additional non-African ancestry. And for some people this part of their DNA might also be interesting to explore further. I have therefore started a new survey featuring the AncestryDNA results of persons from all over Europe, Asia, the Pacific as well as Native Americans. In order to improve correct interpretation of AncestryDNA’s regions by comparing results with persons from verified backgrounds.  Obviously my survey findings are not intended to reflect any fictional national averages. They should be taken as mere indications given individual variation, limitations of sampling, overrepresentation of certain migrant areas of provenance etc. etc. Follow these links for more details:

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Stats (PK=9)

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Selection of South Asian AncestryDNA results 

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INDIA

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PAKI

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BANGLA

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SRINEP

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On this page I will mostly feature the AncestryDNA results of people with a South Asian background. In addition i will also post a few Melanesian results as they might be illuminating on how to judge the minor but consistent “Melanesian” scores reported for South Asians. Which seem to confuse and mislead many people. As shown above the “Asia South” region is actually quite predictive but not to the full extent. It turns out that generally speaking South Asian DNA cannot be described as merely being 100% “Asia South”. According to Ancestry’s info a “typical native” from South Asia  (based on their own 161 samples) would rather score 85% “Asia South”. Which is pretty much in line with my own findings. Even if based on a smaller sample size (see chart 1).

Despite a great degree of shared origins the subcontinent of South Asia obviously is home to many distinctive populations and displays a wide span of genetic diversity.  Not surprising given the many migrations and blending of invaders and aboriginal populations which has been taking place since early prehistory. For all South Asian countries some degree of genetic substructure within their borders is therefore to be expected, probably corresponding strongest with geography but also with language/ethnicity and most likely also caste.  For a greater understanding of South Asian genetics follow these links:

“Asia South” 85% for “typical native”

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Aside from almost always predominant (>75%)  “Asia South” amounts also socalled “Asia East” is reported as a secondary genetic component by AncestryDNA for many native South Asians. Usually in amounts up to 20%. And in addition also socalled “Melanesia” shows up rather consistently above trace level but no higher than 7% sofar in my survey. Less consistent and usually also in minor amounts socalled “Asia Central” is reported in particular for Pakistani as well as 1 Nepali result sofar. These non-South Asian regions can be puzzling at first sight for people who according to their own knowledge are fully South Asian. It can even be misleading without correct interpretation. But it’s very useful to be aware of these general patterns as this circumstance will also have implications for the results of Afro-Diasporans of partial South Asian descent. I will discuss this in greater detail in the last section of this page.

In fact in absence of any supporting evidence these socalled “Asia East”, “Asia Central” and “Melanesia” scores are not indicative of recent lineage but rather to be considered as (mislabeled) DNA markers which have been present within the South Asian genepool for hundreds or even thousands of years. In order to avoid any jumping to premature conclusions i highly recommend that you atleast browse through some of the topics mentioned in the following links:

The basic lesson to be learnt is that the regional labeling by AncestryDNA is not always intended to be taken literally!  The regional percentages reported by AncestryDNA firstmost signal close genetic similarity to the samples taken from the countries or areas after which the regions have been named. And not actual descent or some kind of blood quantum as is too often assumed.

Ethnicity is a construct which evolves across time due to ethnogenesis. Generally speaking therefore ethnic groups do not possess unique DNA markers. Especially in comparison with neighbouring ethnic groups or from within the same wider region. The most common scenario being a genetic gradient which causes ancestral components to gradually fan out. As can be verified from chart 1.

However by closely studying the regional combinations being reported for South Asians we can still learn a great deal. Inspite of individual variation group averages do tend to provide more solid ground to make meaningful inferences when specifying someone’s ancestral origins. Also finding out where a specific region is most prominent or rather most subdued holds valuable lessons.

“Asia South” region based on Pakistani samples?

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HGDP & 1k samples

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Stats Desi

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As mentioned already according to Ancestry’s own information the “typical native” from South Asia would score 85% “Asia South”. This socalled  “typical native” is naturally to be understood within the context of Ancestry’s Reference Panel and its 161 South Asian samples. It remains to be seen how representative these samples might be to capture the genetic diversity existing within the vast Indian subcontinent which is home to about 1.7 billion people! Sofar i myself have not seen any  specification of Ancestry’s South Asian samples.  However Ancestry’s white paper does mention that samples from the HGDP database have been utilized among other datasets. This database includes 200 samples from several Pakistani ethnic groups (see this link for an overview). Therefore it seems reasonable to assume that Pakistani samples from the HGDP database are used to calculate “Asia South” scores on AncestryDNA.

Chart 2 displays the median AncestryDNA admixture proportions for each of the Pakistani sample groups from the HGDP database.  And in addition it also features the average AncestryDNA results for the Gujarati sample group (GIH) from the 1000 Genomes database. I copied these results  from an attachment to a recent paper done by the Ancestry research team and published in Nature (“Clustering of 770,000 genomes reveals post-colonial population structure of North America”, 2017). Regrettably the breakdown is not complete for all sample groups as it is based on median values rather than mean values (see column “Sum”).  Their group averages are however quite similar to my own survey samples from Pakistan & Gujarat. Even more interestingly and insightful it seems that on average the Kalash people from northern Pakistan might score close to 100% “Asia South” when tested on Ancestry, atleast when going by the 25 Kalash samples from the HGDP database.

To be sure this does not mean that “Asia South” is an indicator of actual Kalash descent!  The Kalash are afterall a very distinctive but also obscure and tiny population from a remote part in northern Pakistan. And we can verify that in fact also the Sindhi sample group is reported with a very high “Asia South” median score of 95%. This peaking of the “Asia South” region among Pakistani as well as Northwestern Indian populations (incl. Gujarati & Punjabi see my own survey) does seem to suggest that a widespread genetic similarity is being detected which is based firstmost on shared origins with the socalled Ancestral North Indian (ANI) populations rather than with the Ancestral South Indian (ASI) populations. However due to the  particular constellation of AncestryDNA’s reference panel this correlation is far from perfect as actually also for southern Indians and Sri Lankans a robust “Asia South” median score of around 85% is being reported (see chart 3).

Nonetheless the increased “Asia East” and “Melanesia” scores in southern and eastern India do make more sense when you regard them firstmost as a mislabeled expression of deviations from the Pakistani “benchmark” set by the “Asia South” region. Despite overall a great deal of shared origins across the subcontinent such a genetical gradient is to be expected for both geographical and historical reasons. The “Asia East” region might then be indicative of genuinely Eastern Asian lineage only for South Asians with family origins from Himalayan states as well as for Bangladesh. The “Asia Central” scores will have a greater likelyhood of being genuine but might actually also be an underestimation given that the Pathan sample group from the HGDP database is only scoring 4% for it.

Using common sense of course the socalled “Melanesia” scores among South Asians are not likely to point towards any recent ancestral ties with the Pacific. Rather these scores are much more likely to be explained through genetic similarities as a result of ancient migrations originating in South Asia and branching out to the Pacific. The ancestors of both Melanesians and Australian Aboriginals afterall passed through South Asia when they moved out of Africa. It is tempting to speculate about how these minor but still fascinatingly consistent (also for my Pakistani samples!) “Melanesia” scores might to some degree be correlated with ASI (Ancestral South Indian) origins. Naturally not to the full extent but possibly representing a more distinctive remnant portion of it. All of these ancestral similarities discussed above are however still under investigation and sketchy at best. For more background information follow these links:

As far as I was able to verify all of the following screenshots below are from persons of fully South Asian descent. But naturally i did not have absolute certainty in all cases. Practically all results have been collected by me from public websites or social media.1 I like to thank all my survey participants for having tested on AncestryDNA and sharing their results online so that it may benefit other people as well!

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Indian results

I have ranked the screenshots below based on the amount of highest to lowest score for “Asia South”. I also mention regional origins within India. But only whenever these details were available to me and obviously only meant as an approximation of recent family locations (within the last 2 generations). At times i make educated guesses (indicated by “?”) based on surnames or other clues. The greatest number of my admittedly still very minimal South Asian survey samples comes from India. In many cases i do not have any further details though. Even so, as shown in chart 3 some preliminary patterns are already arising.  Which are in line with the discussion above. Specificly “Asia South” seems to peak in northwestern India. Socalled “Asia East” is most prevalent among northeastern Indians. While socalled “Melanesia” , despite being consistent across India, is most noticeable among southern Indians. These tendencies are continued in the results of the neighbouring countries of India to the northwest (Pakistan), to the northeast (Bangladesh & Nepal) and to the south (Sri Lanka).

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INDIA  (Gujarat?)

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IN97 (GUJ, p)

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INDIA  (Uttarakhand?)

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IN96 (Garwhali)

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INDIA 

IN89b

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INDIA  (Punjabi?)

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IN89 - Punjabi p

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INDIA  

IN88

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INDIA  (Kerala, Christian)

IN88 (Kerala)

 

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INDIA  (Kerala)

IN87 (Kerala)

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INDIA  (Kerala)

IN86 (Kerala)

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INDIA  

IN85

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INDIA 

IN85c

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INDIA  (Konkani & Gujarati)

These are the results of CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria. Interestingly he seems to have a detectable connection with West Asia (6% “Caucasus”), which appears to be fairly recent (within last 500 years or so). Apparently inherited by way of his Konkani father. Muslim trader ancestry from the Middle East seems likely.  The “Italy/Greece” & “Iberian Peninsula”  trace regions are probably a misreading of West Asian origins (see West Asian AncestryDNA results) but could possibly also indicate additional Portuguese ancestry i suppose. His mother’s results also appear in the video which i linked below. She’s from Gujarat and scored a 96% score for “Asia South”.

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IN85 (Gujarati & Konkani)

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INDIA  

These results below belong to a person with a Portuguese surname. A connection with Goa, Diu or Daman (all former Portuguese colonies within India) might be a possibility but it seems that Portuguese surnames are actually also found in other parts of India, incl. southern India and Bengal. No signs of any Portuguese admixture. However it should be noted that the genetic contribution from one single ancestor due to dilution might already not be detectable after about 8 generations.

 

IN84 (pt)

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INDIA 

IN83

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INDIA  (Kerala?)

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Highest socalled “Melanesia” score observed among my Indian samples. Only to be matched by one Bangladeshi result which also showed 7% “Melanesia”. Probably to be correlated with higher degrees of Ancestral South Indian (ASI) DNA in eastern and southern India.

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IN82 (South)

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INDIA  

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I have no confirmation about this person’s background except for a Muslim name. The small but still rather elevated African score looks very distinctive. Such an outcome will be rare for South Asians. However some minor degree of African geneflow among (coastal) South Asians within the last 500 years is historically plausible. The Indian Ocean Slave Trade from eastern Africa into India, Pakistan and even Bangladesh is well known. Some small lingering Afro-Indian communities (known locally as Siddi’s) still remain scattered along Pakistan’s and India’s coastal lines. Other Afro-descendants have been absorbed already within the South Asian mainstream. Possibly also including one of this person’s ancestors.

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IN80, (SSA)

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INDIA  (West Bengal)

IN78 (BG)

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INDIA  

IN77 (pt)

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INDIA

IN73

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INDIA  (Assam)

IN72 (Assam)

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Pakistani results

I have ranked the screenshots below based on the amount of highest to lowest score for “Asia South”.  I also mention regional origins within Pakistan. But only whenever these details were available to me and obviously only meant as an approximation of recent family locations (within the last 2 generations). Sofar due to minimal sample size i am not able yet to establish regional variation within Pakistan. However from a subcontinental perspective some preliminary patterns are already arising, as shown in chart 3. These tendencies are in line with the discussion in the introduction. Specificly the “Asia South” region seems to be peaking among Pakistani samples while also a more noticeable “Asia Central” contribution is showing up on average when compared with my samples from both India and Bangladesh. The socalled “Melanesia” scores are lowest compared with other South Asians but still detectable and consistent.

For a more detailed overview of AncestryDNA admixture analysis applied on HGDP samples from several Pakistani ethnic groups see chart 2.

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PAKISTAN (Kashmir)

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PK95 (Kashmr)

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PAKISTAN (Sindh?)

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PK88 (Sindh)

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PAKISTAN

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The trace region reporting of “Native America” is bound to be a misreading of Central Asian DNA.

PK87

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PAKISTAN

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PK87b

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PAKISTAN

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PK87c

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PAKISTAN (Pathan)

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Interesting breakdown for this Pathan (a.k.a. Pashtun). Not shown in the screenshot but additionally this person also received a score of 5% “Caucasus” and 1% “Polynesia”. It’s in line with the results for the Pathan samples from the HGDP database (see chart 2). Also the second Pathan result in my survey (see Youtube section) is similar. The surprisingly minimal “Asia Central” amount is to be explained by the circumstance that most likely northern Pakistani samples have been used by Ancestry to define the “Asia South” region. While most likely Hazara (Afghanistan) samples from the HGDP database have been used to establish any “Asia Central” affinity. This outcome is therefore merely a reflection of how Pathans are generally more so related to northern Pakistani rather than to Hazara.

The minor European component is also fascinating but not to be taken too literally! It is bound to indicate quite ancient shared origins with Europeans rather than any recent European admixture. Intriguingly Celtic-like and East European affinities seem to be picked up. Which would more or less agree with current studies about the ancient migrations and formation of West Eurasian populations in the distant past. One of the more sensationalist theories even once speculated about a Celtic presence in Central Asia!

 

 

PK84

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PAKISTAN

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Highest “Asia Central” score observed sofar among my Pakistani and other South Asian (excl. Nepal) samples. Given geography and (pre) history this outcome would seem to make perfect sense. Unfortunately no details about this person’s ethnic background. Depending on the preferred timeframe this person’s degree of ultimately Central Asian origins could very well be much higher though. But because most likely Pakistani samples, incl. Kalash ones, have been used to underpin the “Asia South” region the more ancient Central Asian affiliations are likely to remain obscured. The trace region reporting of both “Native America” and “Finland/Northwest Russia” are bound to be linked to such distant Eurasian origins.

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PK80

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Bangladesh results

I have ranked the screenshots below based on the amount of highest to lowest score for “Asia South”. Sofar due to lack of further detail and minimal sample size i am not able to establish any regional variation within Bangladesh. However from a subcontinental perspective some preliminary patterns are already arising, as shown in chart 3. These tendencies are in line with the discussion in the introduction. Specificly sofar for Bangladeshi results a higher “Asia East” group average is emerging, combined with a lower “Asia South” average score when compared with my samples from both India and Pakistan. The socalled “Melanesia” scores are in the same range as for southern and eastern Indians sofar.

The socalled “Polynesia” scores for Bangladeshi also stand out somewhat, atleast relatively speaking. They are most likely a “byproduct” of Southeast Asian ancestry which is being mislabeled by AncestryDNA. Given the elevated level of these “Polynesia” scores it might be indicative of how the shift towards Southeast Asian genetic similarity could be genuine. Unsurprising perhaps given geography and also a most likely prehistorical presence of Austro-Asiatic speakers (nowadays absorbed) but still a useful outcome when interpreted correctly.

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BANGLADESH

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BA82

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BANGLADESH

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BA77

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BANGLADESH

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BA76

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BANGLADESH

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Highest socalled “Polynesia” score i have observed sofar among South Asians. Also notice the socalled “Native American” trace region which is most likely a misreading of actual Central Asian DNA.

BA74

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BANGLADESH

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BA72

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BANGLADESH

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Highest “Asia Central” score sofar among my Bangladeshi samples, even if only reported as trace region. There might still be several historically plausible scenario’s to justify such an observation for a person from Bangladesh. I’m guessing though it might be indicative of both genuine Central Asian (Afghan) lineage as well as Tibetan/Nepali origins.

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Sri Lankan & Nepali results

Sofar i have only included one single sample from Sri Lanka and Nepal each in my survey. Obviously not sufficient for establishing any patterns. However when combining with the other South Asian results posted above their individual breakdowns do seem to align well enough. Specificly the Sri Lankan composition is similar to the few Southern Indian results i have seen sofar. The Nepali results is more singular because of its primary “Asia East” and elevated “Asia Central” score . But it is still in line with the trend towards increased “Asia East” scores starting in eastern India and Bangladesh.

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SRI LANKA

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Despite the considerable “Asia East” and “Melanesia” percentages still remarkable how the “Asia South” region is able to accurately pinpoint predominant South Asian origins even for people from the southernmost extreme of the Indian Subcontinent. Will be interesting to see if there are any significant differences between Tamil & Sinhalese results.

SL80

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NEPAL

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I have no confirmation about this person’s ethnic background but judging from the very distinctive breakdown a Tibeto-Burman speaking ethnicity seems a likely candidate. In which case the socalled “Asia Central” is more so a Mongolian shifted category rather than a mixed Turkic one. Aside from the predominant “Asia East” and “Asia Central” combination it is also noteworthy that the ony 18% “Asia South” is being joined by a 4% socalled “Melanesia” amount. The African trace amount is peculiar but most likely a misreading or “noise” given that it’s less than 1%.

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NP18

 

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Melanesian results

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Sofar i have only collected a few Melanesian results in my survey (for the sake of brevity i will also include Australian Aboriginals under this “Melanesian”  umbrella term). The reason i have added these results onto this mainly South Asian page is because i believe that for most if not all Afro-Diasporans any trace region reporting of “Melanesia” will actually be indicative of South Asian lineage, or otherwise just a misreading of small DNA patches which are difficult to classify. Genuine ancestral ties with the Pacific seem very farfetched for Afro-descendants in the Americas especially. I am not aware of any historically plausible and documented connections for what it’s worth. Naturally in individual cases recent and already known ancestry from the Pacific might still occur. I imagine this could be true for mixed Afro-descendants in Hawaii for example.

As can be seen in the chart directly above the prediction accuracy of the “Melanesian” region on AncestryDNA is impressively high: 100% for the “typical native”! Most likely Papuan & Melanesian samples from the HGDP database are being used by Ancestry to establish any “Melanesian” genetic similarity. Most likely due to (very) ancient shared origins the socalled “Melanesia” region is also consistently reported for South Asians, even if only in small amounts. This would be a case of regional mislabeling. As actually the geneflow would be the other way around. Due to migration patterns going from west to east it would be much more likely that Melanesians have (very ancient) South Asian origins. See also the introduction to this page for discussion in greater detail.

There are many popular misconceptions about Melanesians and their origins. Due to their phenotype a close kinship with currentday Africans & Afro-Diasporans is sometimes naively assumed to exist. However despite their DNA being quite distinctive (incl. a Denisovan component) scientists currently assume that actually other Pacific islanders, Asians and even Europeans are genetically closest to the Melanesians. All of them ultimately descended from the same Out-of-Africa migration. Leaving aside any superficialities or ideological motivations and just taking an unbiased look at their distinctive culture, their languages, their known history and prehistory it is already crystal clear that the Melanesians are a unique group of people who should be respected as such.

For more background information:

 

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AUSTRALIA (Aboriginal)

A very intriguing breakdown for this Australian Aboriginal. The highest “Melanesian” score i have seen sofar. And fascinatingly also a considerable amount (above trace level!) of “Asia South” is being reported. Perhaps suggestive of some generalized genetic similarity between the “Asia South” and “Melanesia” regions. But perhaps also indicative of genuine and recent lineage. I do not have any details on this person’s family’s background except for a distinctive Aboriginal surname. Some minor European admixture is also showing up.  Which makes sense given Australia’s history. The remaining 4 regions read as follows:

  • 4% “Asia Central”
  • 2% “Africa South-Central Hunter-Gatherers”
  • 1% “Finland/Northwest Russia”
  • 1% “Ireland”

Especially the “Asia Central” and “Africa South-Central Hunter-Gatherers” trace amounts might seem puzzling when taken too literally. Leaving aside the possibility of somehow this being the result of recent admixture. I suppose it could also just indicate unique DNA markers within the Aboriginal genepool not found among the 28 Melanesian samples used by AncestryDNA. And therefore Ancestry’s algorithm is finding the closest proxy in Siberian-related and San-related DNA?

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AU72

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Maluku (eastern Indonesia)

Maluku or also the Moluccan islands are part of Indonesia. But based on several criteria it arguably fits better into Melanesia.  Although basically displaying a balanced blending of various ancestral components the “Melanesia” amount being shown below is highest. Such an outcome might also be obtained for other eastern Indonesians, but not so for western Indonesians who are more strictly of Austronesian stock.

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ML39

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Youtube Videos

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PAKISTAN (Punjab?)

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PAKISTAN (Pathan)

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INDIA

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INDIA (Karnataka/Tamil Nadu)

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NEPAL?

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PALAU

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1/2 MALUKU & 1/2 African American

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Implications for Afro-Diasporans:

To conclude this page i will now describe some of the most important implications for Afro-Diasporans in an attempt to improve proper interpretation of their South Asian or Melanesian scores. This section firstmost reflects my own interpretation and naturally other ancestral scenarios remain possible as well. As always context is everything and solid genealogical research combined with historical plausibility should be leading instead of wishful thinking 😉

 1) “Asia South” is fairly predictive of South Asian DNA

  • South Asian admixture is widespread among certain groups of Afro-Diasporans. In particular this goes for the Caribbean, Guyana and Suriname. But also for the Indian Ocean Afro-Diaspora: South African Coloureds; Creoles from Mauritius, Réunion, Seychelles; Gulf Arabs etc. Because their South Asian admixture is historically plausible and widely known any “Asia South” reporting on AncestryDNA is very likely to be “the real thing” for them.

2) “Melanesia” as well as “Asia East” will usually be a minor “byproduct” of South Asian DNA

  • The South Asian admixture for most Afro-Diasporans is historically mostly derived from eastern and southern India. My survey is suggesting that people from these parts of South Asia are also most likely to score consistent and above trace-level scores for socalled “Melanesia” and “Asia East” (see chart 3). Without any supporting evidence in both cases it can be assumed these scores are actually a mislabeling of South Asian DNA not captured by the “Asia South” region and therefore to be added to it.

3) Trace regions=Low Confidence regions

  • If “Asia South” as well as “Melanesia” is being reported merely as a tiny Trace region (<1%). It then follows that without any supporting evidence you are dealing with an increased possibility of a false positive or misreading of your DNA.

 

Predictive accuracy “Asia South” region is quite high: 85%

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This section is intended especially for Afro-Diasporans with a confirmed history of South Asian admixture. In particular: Caribbeans and Indian Ocean Afro-descendants. As plentifully demonstrated on this page the “Asia South” region has a high prediction accuracy for South Asians themselves, all across the subcontinent. But not to the full extent of 100%!  When reported for an Afro-Diasporan “Asia South” is therefore likely to be the real thing. Although if it’s reported as a minimal trace region (< 1%)  it might of course also just be “noise” or a misreading.

However seemingly as a byproduct it seems minor “Melanesia” scores are to be expected when you have South Asian lineage. This does not imply any actual Melanesian origins! Rather it is to be explained through genetic similarities as a result of ancient migrations originating in South Asia and branching out to the Pacific. The consistency of this “Melanesia” reporting is intriguing and possibly also to be explained by socalled “cold spot” DNA segments. Such segments would be least likely to be affected by recombination but rather get passed on intact across the generations.

Minor amounts of “Asia East” are also perfectly compatible with having South Asian lineage, and in some cases “Asia Central” as well. Both regions regularly being reported for native South Asians. Although “Asia Central” seems to be more restricted to my Pakistani & Nepali samples. While for most Trans-Atlantic Afro-Diasporans Northeast Indian (Uttar Pradesh/Bihar) or South Indian (Tamil) origins seem to have been most prevalent. Possibly Indian Ocean Afro-Diasporans have more diverse South Asian origins, also incl. Gujarat and Bengal. Unfortunately because of the additional possibility of genuine East Asian ancestry or a misreading of  “Asia Central” for actual Native American ancestry the picture becomes fuzzier when these regions appear for Afro-Diasporans.

See also:

 

Trace Regions = Low Confidence Regions

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Many Afro-Diasporans will receive considerable scores of either “South Asian” or “Melanesian” DNA. And often these will also be in line with their known family backgrounds. However for many others it seems that this type of DNA is usually reported as an unexpected trace region which catches them by surprise. Appropriately termed “Low Confidence” regions by Ancestry since their latest update. As a general disclaimer & reminder it pays to be very careful when wanting to make sense of your Asian/Pacific trace regions. AncestryDNA provides *estimates* and not solid claims of membership to any particular ethnic group! It is well advised therefore to take anything reported at trace level with a grain of salt unless additional clues and corroborating evidence exist.

As described in the screenshot above and in greater detail on this page,  trace regions are explicitly set apart because AncestryDNA cannot rule out that several regions could qualify at the same time when describing these small DNA patches. As can be verified from this very page South Asians and Melanesians themselves also often receive puzzling and unexpected trace regions. At first sight it may even seem impossible or absurd when for example a person from Bangladesh would show a trace region of “Native America” or a person from India is reported with a small amount of “Finland/Northwest Russia” or an Australian Aboriginal receives a trace amount of “Asia Central”. However such outcomes do usually make sense when genetic similarities & ancient migrations are taken into consideration. You will also reach a deeper understanding when you stop fixating on the regional labeling too much. You can still obtain insightful information as long as you adopt a broader perspective on genetics and aim for correct interpretation.

Admixture analysis is not perfect but if you familiarize yourself with its inherent limitations you will realize that is in fact unrealistic to expect “100% accurate” results. As abundantly shown on this page genetic diversity is a given for most populations all over the world. Receiving a multitude of trace regions does therefore not per se imply that you have a confusingly diverse background. Rather it might suggest that your ancestors were themselves genetically diverse! But still these ancestors could have been from just one or two ethnic groups only. On this page in particular it has been demonstrated that minor “Melanesian” amounts are to be expected for someone of South Asian lineage.

Some might say that the primary regions appearing in your results will be more deserving of your research efforts. Your research results might then be more fruitful and covering a wider span of your ancestral make-up. As afterall the regions with the biggest amounts can be deemed to be more solidly based on your most important regional origins (even when taken as mere proxies). Then again it is human nature to be intrigued by seemingly mysterious details, even at the risk of getting caught up in them. Also it seems to be not just a sign of the times that  “exotic” ancestry is often thought to be appealing 😉

And to be sure – exactly because Asian, and Pacific trace regions are suggestive of distinctive ancestors – it might in fact also be worthwhile to investigate such minor family lines. As you might find them to be more readily identifiable after performing a dilligent family tree research or by combining with other aspects of DNA testing (haplogroups, IBD matches etc.). So despite their lower confidence trace regions are not to be lightly dismissed either. In case you wish to cross-check any possible South Asian or Melanesian lineage i would advise to take a 23andme test as well. As generally speaking their South Asian & Oceanian categories might be more predictive than AncestryDNA when dealing with smaller amounts. Ultimately this will all be up to your own personal preferences. But it’s worth repeating again that without additional clues and corroborating evidence your attempts to trace back trace regions to specific ancestors or ethnic groups could very well lead to a dead end. Conjecture and unfounded speculation can then quickly turn to self deception.

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Notes

  1. I like to express my sincere gratitude to all the persons whose online posting of their results has made this survey possible! Almost all of my samples were collected by me from public websites or social media. As i found them to be of potentially great educational benefit for others. I have asked for prior consent whenever i could but regrettably wasn’t able to do so in all cases. I have naturally taken great care to cut away any name details in order to safeguard everyone’s privacy. Apologies in advance to anyone who recognizes their results and is not comfortable with this blog page featuring them. Please send me a PM and i will remove them right away.
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