Monday, November 27, 2017

Genome Link Review

Genome Link - Knowledge Base
Genome Link, powered by Awakens, Inc., is a third party website that accepts raw DNA data from 23andMe and AncestryDNA to provide some health reports for free, and even more for a $89 fee (currently on sale for only $39). It does not include an ethnicity report.

The health report includes your risk of some diseases, as well as things like physical traits, personality (mental health), intelligence, nutrition, and fitness. Unfortunately, the way it presents your results is very technical and confusing. It does not explain your results in plain English so that most people can understand it easily. What's more, is that the section which is easier to understand does not even include your personal results.

Floating bubbles in Knowledge Base
There's two sections: Explore Genome (shown below), and Knowledge Base (shown above and right). The names suggest Explore Genome is where you'll find your own results, and Knowledge Base is general information, but newcomers to the field may not understand this. So at first glance, Knowledge Base looks like where you would find your health reports, but these are actually just reports on the general population's tendency towards these conditions and traits. Clicking on them will show you a chart with floating bubbles (shown right) - the bigger and more bubbles, the higher or lower a population's tendency on the scale. Different colored bubbles indicate populations from different parts of the world. Europe is blue, Asia is pink, etc. So you can see whether Asians, Africans, etc are more or less prone to certain things. It's interesting, but it really doesn't tell you anything about yourself. What's worse is that it's poorly explained and at first makes it look like these are your personal results - but as you can see in the screenshot, why would I have pink (East Asian) bubbles when I have no East Asian ancestry? These are not my results.

Exploring my genome
Where you find your personal reports is instead under "Explore Genome", but this section is highly technical and not easy to use. On the far right are your chromosomes you can click through and on the far left it lists a ton of conditions and traits in seemingly no particular order (though there is a search field above) and clicking on them will show you in the large middle space where in your genome they appear with a letter underneath indicating your genotype (shown left). This visual display is totally unnecessary, you can see all the empty space used just to tell me my genotype is "A." Most people just want to know whether they are at a higher or lower risk for a condition, but the report won't tell you this, not in plain English. All it will say is if you have a certain genotype, you should click on the link for more information. The link will take you to the publication of a medical study, which is highly technical and probably not going to be understood by most people. And you can't assume that having the certain genotype means you're at a higher risk for that condition. For example, it may sound like I am a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis because it says "If you have A then check the evidence below" - and according to them, I do have "A" (genotype). But according to every other health report I've run on my DNA, I am not a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis. So this could be very misleading. Sure enough, opening up their link to the medical publication isn't useful for a laywoman like myself, as it's full of highly technical data I can't even begin to understand.

There is a "Help" button in the lower right, but it's just a short FAQ which really doesn't tell you much more than what I've just explained.

Conclusion: While you do get a good amount of health reports for free, they are fairly useless for the average individual as they do not explain, in plain English, what they mean. And while you can also get many more reports for the $89 fee, it would still be useless unless you're an genetic academic and can understand the medical publications. If they were to add better interpretations of the results so most people could understand them, this could be a very comprehensive health report, especially given what you get for free. As for the $89 fee, you can get just as many reports (which are much easier to understand) from for a mere $5, so the Genome Link's fee seems extremely high, even if, as I write this, it's on sale for only $39.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Promethease Review

A screenshot from Promethease's health report is a third party website for providing a comprehensive health report from your raw DNA data. It's not free, but it is extremely affordable at only $5 per report. They accept DNA from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, LivingDNA, Genos, and possibly others. Promethease recommends trying to upload regardless of what company you tested with as "many formats" should work. If it doesn't work, they encourage you to email them.

There are two options when you purchase a health report: you can create a free account, or you can get your report without an account. With an account, your raw DNA data which you upload is saved on the site (until/unless you ever decide to delete it). The report generated from it is deleted from the website after 45 days, however, you can regenerate the report from your saved raw data for free at any time. If you manage more than one kit, you can include them all on one account (but each report still costs $5). If you don't create an account, after 24 hours, everything (including your raw DNA data) will be deleted from their site and if you ever need to regenerate the report, you would have to pay again. Either way, the report is downloadable to save on your computer for future use, and so you can give a copy to your doctor. So creating an account is beneficial for regenerating the report at any time for free, especially if there are updates to the report. But for those who are concerned with privacy and don't want to store their DNA on the site, they have that option. For more information on Promethease's privacy policy, see here.

Promethease's tutorial
The first thing you'll see in your health report is a tutorial that pops up when you open it. I would suggest going through it and opening the links it contains for further information. The data Promethease throws at you can be a little technical and a lot overwhelming, but the tutorial definitely helps.

Although it explains, in plain English, what different genes are associated with and what it means, whether it's good or bad for you, etc, the most confusing thing about it is that you can have one gene that says you have a decreased risk of something, and another gene that says you have an increased risk of the exact same thing. How that plays out in reality is really something you'd have to ask your doctor. Essentially, all Promethease is doing is pulling data from SNPedia, which is like Wikipedia for genetics (they source their info from peer-reviewed scientific publications), so you don't have to go looking up each one of your genes and what they might be associated with.

The amount of information the report includes makes it impossible to view everything at once, which is why they've included various ways to search, filter, and sort the results. If you want to see everything on cancer, for example, you can either use the search bar at the top for "cancer", or select cancer from the "medical conditions" drop down bar on the right. It will then list all genes you have which are associated with cancer, good or bad, or "not set" (see image above right). I normally untick the option for "not set" because this basically means there's not enough information to say whether the association is good or bad and that means it doesn't really tell you anything.

Read through all the info and click "more info" to get
complete data on what a gene is associated with.
Sometimes when you select conditions from the drop down menu, a report may not readily sound like it's associated with that condition. For example, when I select cancer, one of the reports is for "Possibly impaired folate metabolism" (shown left) and the information included doesn't mention cancer. However, reading the whole summary, tells me the gene is "linked to slightly increased risk for several types of brain cancer." This is good to know, considering my grandfather died of brain cancer. Additionally, when I click on "more info" at the bottom of the details, it takes me to this page, which includes a huge long list of others conditions it's associated with, not mentioned in the summary. So make sure you read everything thoroughly and when there is an option to click for "more info", click it. Keep in mind that a single gene may be associated with more than one condition and that may be why, at first glance, it doesn't seem associated with the condition you selected even though it is.

Magnitude chart
Also note the "Magnitude" number. This is a measure of the interest factor. SNPedia recommends magnitudes under 2 aren't worth paying much attention to. Above 3 should be particularly noteworthy. That means you may have a "bad" gene for a certain condition, but if the magnitude is low, it's probably not worth concerning yourself over. So if you have one gene that says you have a higher risk of something, and another gene that says you have a lower risk of the same thing, take a look at the magnitude for each. You may even want to filter out any reports under a magnitude of 2 or 3, as the ones above those magnitudes are the ones you're going to want to pay the most attention to.

Conclusion: Although a little technical and can be confusing if you have genes that seemingly conflict with one another, the amount of information you get for a mere $5 is absolutely worth it, particularly because they do explain, in plain English, what the results mean. This is easily the most comprehensive health report available, especially for the price. The ability to download the report in its entirety is extremely beneficial as well, not only for future reference, but also so you can give it to your doctor (an option that is surprisingly lacking on many other health reports I've used), and I would strongly recommend taking it to your doctor as well, for a better understanding.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

GenePlaza Review

GenePlaza is a third party website that allows you to upload your raw DNA data from testing companies including 23andMe and AncestryDNA, and provides you with different DNA reports, for small fees.

It offers some ethnicity reports, and some traits, and nutritional reports. To the left you can see a screenshot of all the "apps" or reports they offer and how much they each cost. The upload of your DNA is free, and they even provide you with $3 credit for uploading, which will buy you at least one app/report - so you get at least one for free. Not a bad deal, and the other apps aren't very expensive either, ranging from $1-5.

However, it doesn't provide a true health report with disease risks, only "traits" like Intelligence, Sleep, Taste. etc. The apps for Neuroticism and Weight are probably the closest to health reports and may be of use to some people, but there are other sites that will provide a much more comprehensive health report. On GenePlaza, they tell you whether you're likely to be predisposed to each condition or not, including a chart on how your results compare with other GenePlaza users.

GenePlaza's example of the Ethnicity Calculator plot chart
Of the three ethnicity options, the "Ancestry" app is likely the one most people are looking for. The K12 Ancient Admixture Calculator only reports on prehistoric populations like Hunter-Gatherer or Farmer. While it can be interesting, most people are looking for their more recent admixture report. There's two of those: "Ethnicity Calculator" and "Ancestry". The Ethnicity Calculator is simply a plot chart. It works by providing a chart showing the different populations included and how closely or distantly they relate to each other (the closer the dots on the chart, the more closely they are to one another) and then showing you where on the plot chart your DNA fits in the best. It does not provide any percentages for each population you match, which is what most people are looking for.

That brings us to the "Ancestry" app, shown below. It costs $1.89, meaning you can get it for free with the $3 credit they give you for uploading. This will provide a report much like you received with the company you tested with, percentages and all. However, the regions included are broad, for example, I got 55.7% Northwest European, 27.6% Southwest European, 15.2% Ambiguous West Eurasian, and 1.5% Ambiguous. According to GenePlaza, Ambiguous "indicates a percentage of your DNA file that did not match with any of the sources in our reference panel." So it means 1.5% of my DNA didn't match any of their samples, and 15.2% of my DNA couldn't be narrowed down further than "West Eurasian".

For me, this is fairly accurate, if not very specific. My tree is 25% Southern European (Southern Italian/Sicilian), and 75% Northern European (British, German, and Norwegian). If you add the Ambiguous results to Northwest European, that's almost exactly consistent with my tree. However, it conflicts with most other DNA ethnicity reports. 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and FamilyTreeDNA, all seem to agree I'm more like 62-64% Northern European and 36-38% Southern. Take from that what you may, keeping in mind all ethnicity reports are an estimate.

You'll note there is an option to expand my results for Northwest and Southwest European. This provides details on the more specific populations I matched from those regions, but it does not provide a percentage for these groups. For Northwest European, it says I most closely match populations from Argyll Bute (an area of Scotland), England, Norway, and Orkney Islands (off the Northern coast of Scotland). This is fairly consistent with my tree - my British roots are indeed Scottish and English, though I don't know where in Scotland so I can't confirm Argyll Bute and Orkney Islands, but the interesting this about this is I often get Orkney results in Oracle too (see here for details on what Oracle is). The only thing this break down is missing is my German roots.

My break down for Southwestern European is a little farther off the mark. They seem to think I most closely match Basque, South France, and Spain but obviously this is actually my Italian DNA.

NOTE: There has since been added a four ethnicity calculator called K25 Admixture Calculator, which means it includes 25 categories, some of which are very specific regions. I have not tested it yet for accuracy but it looks very interesting. It costs $5. Worth noting is that it has 3 categories for Native American, but none for Jewish.

GenePlaza's example of the Intelligence report (I'm probably
not that intelligent, lol)
Conclusion: Easy to use and explains everything in plain English, doesn't include much of the technical data in the background. Report options are few, but you can at least get your ethnicity break down for free and the other apps aren't expensive. Each app has an example preview showing you what you'll get if you purchase it, so you can decide whether it's worth it or not. For the free ethnicity report, it's worth checking it out, but the purchase of the other apps may not be worth the cost. Although they are inexpensive, there are other options that will provide more reports for a similar cost or even for free. See a list of upload options for your DNA here.

Friday, November 17, 2017

LiveWello Review

LiveWello report explains how I have a decreased likelihood
of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease
LiveWello is a site where you can upload your raw DNA data from several testing companies including 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and FamilyTreeDNA and get reports on a number of health related issues. It costs $19.95 to upload your raw DNA data, but they also offer an additional subscription for $5.95 monthly or $60 yearly. But what all do you get with those different options?

With the $19.95 one time upload fee, you gain access to some reports from LiveWello which explain, in plain English, whether you have an increased, normal, or decreased risk of whatever the report is about. In addition, you have access to the "Gene Library" which is a huge library of different health reports created by third parties. It's very extensive, but the drawbacks are that it doesn't explain in plain English what your risks are, and it doesn't allow you to search for a certain type of report. All you can do is scroll through the list of available reports (listed in order that they are added, with no other way to sort them) and hope to find what you're looking for. The reports only provide the raw DNA and leaves the interpretation up to you, and that means you need some understanding of DNA and how genetic variance works. Many of the Gene Library reports don't even tell you what conditions are associated with the gene(s) it's reporting on, suggesting it's only really beneficial for academics or health care professionals.

Disappointing? A bit. For $19.95, you don't get much, and then they want you to pay even more. Compared to options like Promethease, which provides hundreds of reports for only $5 (one time fee), it seems like you're paying a lot more to get a lot less with LiveWello. In addition, note that although you can upload multiple kits to one account, the fees for LiveWello (both the one time upload fee and subscription) apply to each kit you want to upload. So, let's say you manage your kit, and both your parents kits - full access to LiveWello for all of you would cost about $60 in upload fees, and about $18 monthly. That starts to really add up.

Gene Variance report from "Gene Library" template doesn't
include any explanation of what the data means (increased,
decreased, or average risk)
With the subscription, you gain access to all reports provided by LiveWello, and they also claim you gain access to "all the features included in your gene variance report" (these are for the Gene Library), but I am unclear what this includes since my gene variance reports look exactly the same before and during the subscription. So although the Gene Library is extensive, for most people, it won't be of much use unless you are knowledgeable about gene variance and how they work.

It may look like the color coding explains a tendency towards something good or bad, but it doesn't appear to be consistent and doesn't explain how having both green and red results makes you more or less prone to something.

With the one time fee, you get the following 28 reports (not including Gene Library):

1. COMT Gene and Sensitivity to Pain
2. Nexium, acid reflux disease and CYP2C19 drugs
3. Warfarin and CYP2C9 drugs
4. Plavix, blood thinners and CYP2C19 drugs
5. Response to diabetes medication - Sulfonylureas
6. Hepatitis C Treatment
7. Preference for sweet foods
8. Tramadol and CYP2D6 drugs
9. VDR Taq Gene and Osteoporosis
10. Lupus
11. Vitamin B12
12. MTHFR and Risk of Depression
13. COMT Gene and Personality Traits
14. Vitamin B6
15. Alcohol tolerance
16. Anti-depressant Response: Paxil, Celexa, Effexor or Elavil
17. Folate and the MTHFR gene
18. Caffeine and Anxiety
19. Kidney disease risk and MTHFS gene
20. Oxycodone and CYP2D6 drugs
21. Vitamin A
22. Hormone Replacement Therapy
23. Response to cholesterol lowering medication
24. Sexual Dysfunction due to Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft
25. Alcohol abuse and risk of esophageal cancer
26. Zofran and CYP2D6 drugs
27. MAOA - The Warrior gene
28. Metformin

With the additional subscription, you get 93 more reports (not including Gene Library):

1. Aspirin Allergy - Asthma Risk   (Subscription only)
2. Risk of Duodenal Ulcer   (Subscription only)
3. CYP Gene and Irregular Heart Rhythm   (Subscription only)
4. Genes Related to Manic Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder   (Subscription only)
5. COMT Gene and Irritable Bowel Syndrome   (Subscription only)
6. Histamine Gene and Sensitivity to NSAIDS (Aspirin, Alleve, Advil, Motrin)   (Subscription only)
7. Floxacillin Associated Liver Toxicity   (Subscription only)
8. Narcolepsy   (Subscription only)
9. Susceptibility to Both Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis   (Subscription only)
10. FUT2 Gene and the Gut Microbiome   (Subscription only)
11. Hot flashes in post menopausal women   (Subscription only)
12. Response to bupropion treatment for smoking cessation   (Subscription only)
13. Susceptibility to food poisoning caused by Norovirus   (Subscription only)
14. COMT Gene and Antipsychotics   (Subscription only)
15. G6PD Gene and Risk of Hemolysis with Bactrim   (Subscription only)
16. Methamphetamine and Risk of Psychosis   (Subscription only)
17. Painful Menstrual Period and BDNF Gene   (Subscription only)
18. COMT Gene and Response to Effexor   (Subscription only)
19. MTHFR Gene and Pravastatin Efficacy   (Subscription only)
20. Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis   (Subscription only)
21. Levofloxacin and Risk Of Seizures   (Subscription only)
22. Response to Treatment of Blood Pressure with Benazepril   (Subscription only)
23. Response to steroid treatment of Crohn's disease   (Subscription only)
24. COMT Gene and Tobacco Use Disorder   (Subscription only)
25. MTHFR Gene and risk of Stroke   (Subscription only)
26. Medication Overuse Headaches   (Subscription only)
27. Risk of Acute Psychosis with Cannabis   (Subscription only)
28. Processed Meat and Risk of Colorectal Cancer   (Subscription only)
29. Response to Vitamin E Supplementation   (Subscription only)
30. Fat and Obesity (FTO) Gene and Risk of Alzheimer's Disease   (Subscription only)
31. Cold Sores   (Subscription only)
32. APOE gene and Alzheimer disease risk   (Subscription only)
33. Risk of liver damage with Depakote (valproic acid)   (Subscription only)
34. Aspirin Allergy - Hives   (Subscription only)
35. Risk of Developing Multiple Sclerosis   (Subscription only)
36. Efficacy of Blood Pressure Medication, Norvasc   (Subscription only)
37. NOS Gene and Response to Viagra   (Subscription only)
38. APOE Gene, Cholesterol level and Diets   (Subscription only)
39. Vitamin D   (Subscription only)
40. Response to Carisoprodol (SOMA)   (Subscription only)
41. Heart Failure Treatment with Bidil   (Subscription only)
42. Breast Cancer Treatment   (Subscription only)
43. MTHFR, Homocysteine and Nitrous Oxide Anesthesia   (Subscription only)
44. Hormone Replacement Therapy, SULT1A Gene and Risk of Endometrial Cancer   (Subscription only)
45. Abacavir   (Subscription only)
46. Migraine response to vitamin supplementation   (Subscription only)
47. NTRK2 Gene and Lithium Efficacy   (Subscription only)
48. Smoking cessation with nicotine replacement therapy   (Subscription only)
49. GNB3 Gene and Antidepressant Toxicity   (Subscription only)
50. Response to Narcolepsy Drug - Modafinil   (Subscription only)
51. BDNF Gene and Depression - Response to Paxil   (Subscription only)
52. Tegretol Efficacy in Treatment of Seizures   (Subscription only)
53. NOS3 Gene and Response to Blood Pressure Medications   (Subscription only)
54. Phenytoin and CYP2C9 drugs   (Subscription only)
55. Heroin Addiction   (Subscription only)
56. SLC2A3 Gene and Dyslexia in Children   (Subscription only)
57. Sensitivity to Muscle Relaxants Used in General Anesthesia   (Subscription only)
58. APOE Gene and Exercise Response   (Subscription only)
59. General Anesthesia - postoperative nausea and vomiting   (Subscription only)
60. G6PD deficiency, risk of malaria and drug-induced hemolysis   (Subscription only)
61. STXBP5L Gene and Facial Aging   (Subscription only)
62. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity   (Subscription only)
63. MTHFR Gene and Smoking Behavior   (Subscription only)
64. Response to Ibuprofen (PTGS gene)   (Subscription only)
65. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Widespread Pain   (Subscription only)
66. MTHFR Gene and Migraine with Aura   (Subscription only)
67. MTHFR, Metformin and risk of blood clots   (Subscription only)
68. Tylenol and Risk Of Liver Failure   (Subscription only)
69. 5-fluorouracil   (Subscription only)
70. MTHFR Gene and Risk of Male Infertility   (Subscription only)
71. OPRM1 Gene and Opioid Antagonists   (Subscription only)
72. COMT, LRP2 Genes and Risk for Gout   (Subscription only)
73. Obesity risk   (Subscription only)
74. NSAIDS and Acute Coronary Syndrome risk   (Subscription only)
75. SSRI Antidepressants and CYP2C19 Gene   (Subscription only)
76. Susceptibility to Hypertension   (Subscription only)
77. Hypersensitivity to Mercury   (Subscription only)
78. Gluten intolerance genes   (Subscription only)
79. Choline - dietary requirement in premenopausal women   (Subscription only)
80. COMT Gene and Skeletal Muscle Decline in Older Women   (Subscription only)
81. Elite physical power and sprint performance   (Subscription only)
82. Omega-3 Fatty Acids   (Subscription only)
83. Susceptibility to Pregnancy-induced hypertension   (Subscription only)
84. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)   (Subscription only)
85. Naltrexone and Treatment of Alcoholism   (Subscription only)
86. Earwax and Body Odor   (Subscription only)
87. MTHFR gene and Diabetic Neuropathy   (Subscription only)
88. Risk of Cough with Blood Pressure Medication   (Subscription only)
89. Cluster Headaches and Response to Treatment   (Subscription only)
90. COMT Gene and Response to Opiods   (Subscription only)
91. Salt sensitivity   (Subscription only)
92. Risk of Severe Hypersensitivity to Tegretol   (Subscription only)
93. Genes Associated with Empathy   (Subscription only)

Not all reports are available depending on which company
you tested with
Another thing to factor in is the fact that if you uploaded your raw DNA data from AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, and possibly other companies, some of the reports may not be possible due to the necessary SNPs not being included. Not all testing companies include the same SNPs or the same amount of SNPs. FamilyTreeDNA in particular removes about 3,000 medically relevant SNPs. So you could wind up not even having access to all these reports even when you subscribe. With AncestryDNA, I noticed a number of reports were "incomplete because none of the SNPs in it were found in your raw data." And even if you have some of the SNPs necessary, if you don't have all of them, it still may not be able to generate the report and say you have "insufficient genotypes to determine response for" that report. These included but may not be limited to (and may vary depending on the company you tested with):

1. SLC2A3 Gene and Dyslexia in Children
2. Floxacillin Associated Liver Toxicity
3. Response to diabetes medication - Sulfonylureas
4. G6PD Gene and Risk of Hemolysis with Bactrim
5. Methamphetamine and Risk of Psychosis
6. Tramadol and CYP2D6 drugs
7. Response to steroid treatment of Crohn's disease
8. Oxycodone and CYP2D6 drugs
9. Abacavir
10. NTRK2 Gene and Lithium Efficacy
11. Tegretol Efficacy in Treatment of Seizures
12. NOS3 Gene and Response to Blood Pressure Medications
13. Phenytoin and CYP2C9 drugs
14. Hormone Replacement Therapy
15. G6PD deficiency, risk of malaria and drug-induced hemolysis
16. Response to Ibuprofen (PTGS gene)
17. Sexual Dysfunction due to Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft
18. Zofran and CYP2D6 drugs
19. Risk of Cough with Blood Pressure Medication
20. Choline - dietary requirement in premenopausal women
21. General Anesthesia - postoperative nausea and vomiting
22. Vitamin B6
23. Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis
24. Hot flashes in post menopausal women
25. APOE Gene, Cholesterol level and Diets
26. Nexium, acid reflux disease and CYP2C19 drugs
27. Warfarin and CYP2C9 drugs
28. Plavix, blood thinners and CYP2C19 drugs
29. Narcolepsy
30. Susceptibility to Both Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
31. FUT2 Gene and the Gut Microbiome
32. Susceptibility to food poisoning caused by Norovirus
33. Risk of Acute Psychosis with Cannabis
34. Alcohol tolerance
35. Cold Sores
36. APOE gene and Alzheimer disease risk
37. NOS Gene and Response to Viagra
38. Vitamin D
39. Response to Carisoprodol (SOMA)
40. Hormone Replacement Therapy, SULT1A Gene and Risk of Endometrial Cancer
41. APOE Gene and Exercise Response
42. SSRI Antidepressants and CYP2C19 Gene
43. Risk of Severe Hypersensitivity to Tegretol

That's more than a third of all the reports LiveWello provides (not including Gene Library).

Conclusion: The 28 reports you get for $19.95 are probably not worth the money, and can probably be obtained from other venues for less. However, if you're going to spend the $19.95 to upload, you might as well subscribe because it's only another $5.95 and you get a good deal more for that - you can cancel after the first month and you won't be missing anything. If they wind up adding a report you need or want later, you can always renew your subscription for another month. You may want to try cheaper venues like Promethease first though, you might find it is more comprehensive for much less money. For decent free options, I would try Codegen, GeneKnot, or Impute.

See a list of more places you can upload your DNA to here.

Friday, November 10, 2017

AncestryDNA's New Arrangement of Ethnicity and Genetic Communities

An ethnicity report showing new arrangement of
Genetic Communities
You may have recently noticed your AncestryDNA Ethnicity Report and Genetic Communities look a little different and I've been seeing a lot of people who are confused about them so let me clear some things up. Ancestry posted on their blog about the changes, but didn't really address some of the confusion about it.

First, your ethnicity report hasn't changed. A couple of the category titles have change - for example, "Ireland" is now called "Ireland/Scotland/Wales" but in case you never noticed, that category always primarily included those countries. It has not changed to include more countries that it didn't before, only the title has changed to better reflect the areas it has always covered. Below you'll see a screenshot I took before the changes were made. You'll see the details for the category "Ireland" were always "Primarily located in: Ireland, Wales, Scotland" and "Also found in: France, England". If you look at the details for the newly named "Ireland/Scotland/Wales" you'll see it says the very same thing.

This is why it's so important to read all the details of each category, which they keep making harder and harder to find. Currently, you have to click on the category and at the bottom of "Overview" (you may have to scroll down and click "continue reading") there's a button that says "Read More". Make an effort to check this information for every category you have results in. If you haven't looked over it before, you may be surprised to see just how many countries or areas are included in that category, both primarily and "also found in", and just how much overlap that means it has with neighboring categories too.

"Ireland" always primarily included Scotland and Wales, too. The category
name has merely changed to better reflect these areas.

Additionally, your percentages haven't changed. You may now notice that some Genetic Communities are found as sub-groups of your ethnicity categories (see screenshot at top). Nothing about your results in either features has changed, they have just rearranged things so the layout and display is different. Some Genetic Communities are still found listed separately and these are now being called "Migrations" (see screenshot at top).

These numbers are merely how many sub-groups
(Genetic Communities) are found under that category.
Most importantly, I've seen people confusing the numbers found when clicking on "see all 150+ regions" with their results or percentages. I can't make this clear enough: these are not percentages and they have nothing to do with your personal results. They are merely the number of all sub-groups (Genetic Communities) which are available so they're the same for everyone. You will note that if you expand each category/sub-group, the numbers correlate to how many sub-groups there are, and once you can no longer expand to show more, the numbers disappear. Also note the screenshot I've provided (right) - compare it with your own and you'll see the numbers are the same. They are not a further break down of your results. When you click on "see all 150+ regions", the only indication of your personal results is that the categories and sub-groups (Genetic Communities) you have results in will have a colored dot to the left of them (and these are the very same categories and groups you've already seen on your personal results before you clicked on "all see 150+ regions" - there's nothing different here). Categories or sub-groups you have no results in will have a grey dot next to them instead. The only thing you get out of clicking on "see all 150+ regions" is seeing what other categories and Genetic Communities are available which you didn't get results in.

UPDATE Mar 20, 2018: AncestryDNA have recently updated the "See all 150+regions" section to better reflect what I explained above (shown left). Now, instead of just numbers on the right, they actually say "+13 regions" underneath the category title. Additionally, they added the words "No connection" for every group you don't have any results in, although the little grey dots versus colored dot are still there and remain another indication of whether you have results in that category (colored) or not (grey). So there definitely shouldn't be any more confusion. It's a wonder it took them this long to realize how confusing it was and make it clearer, but at least they have now.

(Also note, since I don't think I mentioned this previously, that Genetic Communities have a dotted line circling the little dot, whether colored or not, to distinguish them from the ethnicity percentages categories, which have no dotted line).