Introducing Our New DNA Ethnicity Analysis

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We’re delighted to announce the launch of our new and improved DNA Ethnicity Estimate. MyHeritage DNA now provides users with a percentage-based estimate of their ethnic origins covering 42 ethnic regions, more than any other major DNA company and many of which are available only on MyHeritage. The Ethnicity Estimate is presented in an original and engaging format, making it not only interesting but also fun to watch and share.

The Ethnicity Estimate is available to customers who purchase the MyHeritage DNA kit, and also to users who upload their DNA data to MyHeritage. MyHeritage is unique among the main DNA companies in allowing users who have tested their DNA already with another service to upload — for free — their data to MyHeritage. Those users receive DNA Matches for free, for finding relatives based on shared DNA. Beginning this week, users who have already uploaded their DNA data to MyHeritage, or who will upload it in the coming months, will also receive – for free – the new Ethnicity Estimate.

Every person’s DNA reveals their unique heritage. Understanding where your ancestors came from can give you a better sense of who you are. You might even discover roots in unexpected places.

Order a MyHeritage DNA kit today or upload your DNA data for free to uncover your ethnic origins and find new relatives.

DNA results include a fascinating breakdown of your ancestral ethnicity. You will see the percentage of your DNA that originates from each of the ethnic regions supported by MyHeritage in an Ethnicity Estimate, displayed in a list and on a world map. Access your Ethnicity Estimate by selecting “Ethnicity Estimate” in the “DNA” menu. MyHeritage DNA customers also see their results – which include an overview of their ethnicity and DNA Matches – in an aggregated page called the “DNA results” page, that can be accessed by clicking “DNA” in the main navigation menu. Click “View Full Estimate” there to view your Ethnicity Estimate.

DNA results page

The development of the new Ethnicity Estimate raises the number of ethnic regions covered by MyHeritage DNA from 36 to 42. It was made possible thanks to MyHeritage’s Founder Populations Project — one of the largest of its kind ever conducted. For this unique project, more than 5,000 users were handpicked by MyHeritage from its 90 million-strong user base, by virtue of their family trees exemplifying consistent ancestry from the same region or ethnicity for many generations. All project participants received complimentary DNA tests and allowed MyHeritage’s science team to develop breakthrough ethnicity models based on the generated data.

Thanks to this analysis, MyHeritage DNA has become the only mass-market percentage-based DNA test that reveals ethnicities such as Balkan; Baltic; Eskimo & Inuit; Japanese; Kenyan; Sierra Leonean; Somali; five major Jewish groups  — Ashkenazi, Ethiopian, Yemenite, Sephardic from North Africa and Mizrahi from Iran and Iraq; Indigenous Amazonian; Papuan and many others. In some cases, competing products can identify and report an aggregated region (e.g., Italian & Greek), whereas MyHeritage has better resolution and identifies Greek, Italian and Sardinian ethnicities separately. We are not done utilizing all fruits of the Founder Populations Project, and there are many more ethnic regions that we intend to add in the future, after additional processing and fine-tuning.

In the new Ethnicity Estimate released this week, many improvements have been made  in accuracy, compared to our previous version. One particular example which will be very helpful is the accuracy improvement in identifying German, French, Dutch, and other related ethnicities, which are more accurately detected now as North and West European, whereas previously many of them were incorrectly described as British. Previously, we were unable to differentiate between English and Irish, so we grouped them under one ethnicity called “British Isles”. Now we are able to tell them apart, so we have English, and separately – Irish, Scottish and Welsh. It turns out that the latter three are very close genetically, because of their shared Celtic roots, but hopefully we will be able to tell them apart successfully in the future, after further improvement of our ethnicity models.

Our new Ethnicity Estimate is delivered in a captivating “reveal” experience featuring animation, and as of this week, original music composed by MyHeritage. Each of the 42 ethnicities has a distinctive tune, based on the region’s cultural elements; all songs seamlessly connect to each other. This makes the report fun to watch and share over social media. Access this experience by clicking on “Ethnicity Estimate” in the “DNA” menu, and then clicking the “Play Intro” button as shown below:

Here is an example of the new Ethnicity Estimate “reveal” experience:

Once you’ve viewed your animated results, click “Share” to share them with your friends via social media. Click “View full Ethnicity Estimate” to return to the in-depth ethnicity report.

Internally, we have named our new and improved ethnicity model “0.95 beta”, and the older model “0.90 beta”. Users who receive ethnicity results from now on will only get results with the newer model. MyHeritage DNA customers who have already received ethnicity results with the older model will remain with those results, but they can switch to the newer model at any time using the ethnicity settings dialog. The settings can be accessed by using the cogwheel button as shown below. You can also switch back at any time.

Accessing ethnicity settings

Please keep in mind that the Ethnicity Estimate, although the result of sophisticated algorithms based on large amounts of data, is still an estimate. Some ethnicities are genetically very similar to, and hard to distinguish from, other ethnicities, so mistakes may happen. There are also occurrences of false positives, especially with results having very low percentage values. So it’s always a good practice to treat your ethnicity estimate results with caution, and note that we will continue working hard to improve accuracy and add more ethnicities that are not identified currently. We are happy to receive feedback, as it helps point our attention at areas that could use improvement.

We believe that DNA is one of the key areas in the future of genealogy, and as such it receives a lot of attention from us. As with all areas of family history, we continually strive to make it more useful for our users through innovation. Our new Ethnicity Estimate allows us to show you your ancestral roots with better resolution than any other DNA service, in an original and unique format. We are working to add more features to enhance our users’ DNA results in the near future, and our product roadmap includes a chromosome browser which is highly anticipated by some of our users.

The MyHeritage Team.

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  • david


    June 1, 2017

    Hi. I am a myheritage member and was wondering if you offered a health analysis feature?

    • Esther


      June 4, 2017

      Hi David,

      We don’t currently offer a health analysis feature for MyHeritage DNA.

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Kim


    June 3, 2017

    the DNA company I have used to get my dna info about will update my results from time to time so it isn’t necessary to redo it for anything new that companies come up with …. Do you do this My Heritage?

    • Esther


      June 4, 2017

      Hi Kim,

      We do often make changes automatically for users. In this case, if you have already received ethnicity results, then you will still see the older Ethnicity Estimate model. You can switch to the newer model at any time using the ethnicity settings dialog (the cogwheel button as shown above).

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • marshrail@gmail.com


    June 5, 2017

    There is no cog wheel on my page – no where to change to new setting???

    • Esther


      June 6, 2017

      Hi,

      Only users who have previously received DNA results with the older Ethnicity model will see the cogwheel. Users who have just received results using our new Ethnicity Estimate will not see the settings options.

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Tami Neilson


    June 5, 2017

    My Ethnicity results do not have a Cogwheel icon. Is this because this is still a Beta version?

  • M Kroon


    June 12, 2017

    What a relief, mu first estimate said 85% British/Irish and 15% Scandinavian.. Being Dutch with many German ancestors I was so puzzled about this result and was going to ask my mum some serious questions 😀 . But the new 0.95 version shows 68% North and West European and ‘only’ 22% British, which is very possible since red hair does sometimes run in the family.

  • Mila


    June 16, 2017

    What is the expiration date of your kit? If I purchase it now, can I use it later?

    • Esther


      June 16, 2017

      Hi Mila,

      There is no expiration on the kit, so you can take the test at a later time.

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Jan Dagher


    June 20, 2017

    I am part of the Founder’s Project and just received my ethnicity results. It states that 18.1% of my ethnicity comes from two unnamed regions. Will I receive more information about these two regions as it becomes available?
    Thanks!

    Jan

    • Esther


      June 21, 2017

      Hi Jan,

      If you click on the arrows, you should be able to open up the full and detailed ethnicity estimate, with all of the regions shown.

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Uriy


    June 21, 2017

    Thank You!!

  • Sandra J. Kotrba


    June 22, 2017

    Dear My Heritage,
    I was chosen to participate in the My Heritage Founder’s Population Project in the Fall and I am very excited in seeing my DNA results. I can’t wait to pass it along to my family members. I hope I can encourage them to get their DNA results for comparison. Thank you.