This is an archive FAQ from DNATribes, because they discontinued their operation in 2019. Now it is part of Thednatests.com. For current DNA testing companies check our article: ancestryDNA vs 23 and Me.
This FAQ pertains to our STR test. For information on our SNP analysis.
Which is the most accurate DNA test?
According to my ethnicity calculation (based on Principal Component Analysis), my family tree research, and database size investigation, currently (2022), the best DNA testing company is:
Q: What is the best way to contact us?
To provide feedback on our services, customer support, or content: Contact Us form
Q: What is DNA Tribes Genetic Ancestry Analysis?
A: The DNA Tribes Genetic Ancestry Analysis tests autosomal DNA inherited from both your maternal and paternal ancestors. Your DNA Tribes test results identify the individual populations and DNA Tribes World Regions where your unique DNA profile is most common, including a detailed comparison of your results to genetic data from African, Asian-Pacific, European, Middle Eastern, Native American, and South Asian populations. For more information about our reference database containing over 1,200 populations from around the world, click here.
Your DNA matches can include populations in line with your recent family genealogy. However, the genetic history of world populations began long before genealogical records. For this reason, your DNA matches can also express genetic traces of more ancient links between world populations through shared origins, migrations, and trade. These ancient genetic links are explored in various archived Digest articles, available here. Since 2006, DNA Tribes, led by Lucas Martin, has performed the most comprehensive analysis of world genetic structure. Our research and digest articles explore the genetic links among populations around the world, challenging longstanding scientific and cultural notions on ancestry and identity.
Q: How will my results look?
A: Results are delivered by email in a printable PDF Genetic Ancestry Report.
Q: How does DNA Tribes stands out from other services?
•Affordability. Our test provides a comprehensive assessment of your genetic ancestry at an affordable price. Once the initial testing is performed, specialized add-on panels are available at any time you choose to acquire more detailed results.
•Speedy turn-around times. DNA Tribes® typically delivers results within 2-3 weeks from the time your DNA samples are received for processing by the lab; however, testing can take longer in some cases. For up-to-date status information about your order.
•Excellent customer service. If you have any questions about the interpretation of your results, we are happy to review your results in detail to answer any questions in the light of your family history or world genetic variation.
•Industry standard markers. DNA Tribes® analysis uses autosomal STR marker systems that have been the industry standard relied on by police investigators and courts of law around the world. These powerful markers not only provide personal genetic identification virtually unique to each person, but they also underlie the DNA Tribes’ proprietary identification of World Genetic Regions.
•Expert data analysis. DNA Tribes’ proprietary analysis has been conducted and statistical algorithms developed by Dr. Eduardas Valaitis (Ph.D. in Statistics, Yale University 2005), whose expertise in multivariate classification allows us to provide the most detailed and comprehensive regional analysis available anywhere. Your DNA Tribes analysis will incorporate our original research to identify genetic relationships around the world.
•Lots of detail. DNA Tribes® offers the most comprehensive comparison to world populations and regions available anywhere due to the breadth of our reference database of over 1,200 populations worldwide. DNA Tribes analysis compares your genetic profile to these populations to identify the ethnic groups and regions where DNA signatures similar to yours occur most frequently, including detailed likelihood score information not available anywhere else.
•Just the facts. Genetic ancestry is complex and does not always correspond to familiar ways of thinking about ancestry. DNA Tribes results identify all of the populations and regions around the world where DNA like yours occurs most frequently. These detailed match results can include locations associated with recent family genealogy but can also reflect genetic traces of more ancient links between populations through shared origins, trade, and migrations.
Q: How do I get my DNA Tribes analysis? How long does it take?
A: Learning about your genetic ancestry with DNA Tribes is straightforward. After you place an order for your DNA Tribes® analysis online, we will send you a cheek swab kit with easy-to-follow instructions. Per instructions, you will scrub the inside of your cheek with the swabs, seal your samples, and then mail them in the prepaid return envelope* to our partner genetic testing lab. Once the lab receives your sample, you will receive your results in approximately 2 – 3 weeks** by email in a PDF report file.
* Prepaid return envelopes are included for kits shipped within the U.S. only. For kits shipped outside the U.S., an unpaid return envelope is included for return shipping and it is the responsibility of a customer to pay local postal rates.
** In most cases, results are delivered within 2-3 calendar weeks from the receipt of the DNA samples by the lab. However, in some cases, results can take longer if additional processing or cheek swab re-collection (performed at no additional charge) is needed.
Q: How does DNA Tribes STR testing compare to autosomal tests that use thousands of SNP markers?
A: The primary benefit of STR rather than SNP testing is the availability of rich reference data. DNA Tribes® tests industry-standard autosomal STR systems, which allow the identification of a person’s DNA profile not shared with any other person. Because these STR markers have been tested and used in the court systems around the world, they allow DNA Tribes® to perform the most thorough comparison of a person’s own DNA profile to over 1,200 ethnic groups (populations) around the world. At present, SNP testing does not yet match the geographical detail of DNA Tribes autosomal STR analysis.
Q: How many world populations are included in DNA Tribes analysis?
A: DNA Tribes® tests perform a comprehensive comparison of your unique autosomal STR profile to over 1,200 populations sampled around the world. These data have been collected from various peer-reviewed academic journals and proprietary sources and these population data were verified, aggregated, and imputed using cutting-edge statistical algorithms developed by DNA Tribes. The reference data include native populations on all inhabited continents, as well as modern mixed communities living around the world. More information about the ethnic groups in our world database is available on this page.
Q: Are DNA Tribes customer ratings and reviews available?
A: Yes. At DNA Tribes®, our goal is to provide superior genetic analysis that is informative and enjoyable for our customers. To help us continually improve the quality of our service, DNA Tribes routinely invites our customers to submit their ratings and reviews of their testing experiences. Of customers who responded to our survey between January 2006 and November 2014, over 95% gave a positive rating of their experience with DNA Tribes®.
DNA matches can cross perceived ethnic boundaries and express unexpected genetic links between world populations.
To get the most out of your analysis, we recommend contacting us at the customer support form with questions about your testing. We are happy to provide follow-up assistance in translating technical results into plain English terms to help you in your personal genetic ancestry research. To read customer reviews of their DNA Tribes® experiences, click here.
Q: Is DNA Tribes STR test for only males or females?
A: Both males and females can use the DNA Tribes Genetic Ancestry Analysis. Our test uses autosomal genetic material inherited from both the mother and father (50% from each parent), providing a unique “genetic portrait” that you will pass on to your children and grandchildren as a record of their family heritage.
Q: How does DNA Tribes autosomal analysis relate to other forms of genetic analysis, such as Y chromosome, mtDNA, or admixture tests?
A: DNA Tribes® unique autosomal analysis complements other types of genetic tests, by using DNA passed down equally from male and female ancestors. More specifically, DNA Tribes® analysis can complement Y chromosome or mtDNA information by providing information about genetic connections passed down from a sampling of both lineal non-lineal ancestors, providing a more well-rounded and inclusive picture of a person’s overall ancestry. DNA Tribes® analysis can complement admixture testing by identifying connections to individual ethnic groups and regions, providing a more detailed view of ancestry based on both native populations and modern mixed communities around the world.
Q: What is the scientific basis for DNA Tribes statistical analysis?
A: DNA Tribes® is a privately held company specializing in genetic ancestry analysis, including both geographical analysis and classification of world populations and the comparison of individuals to living populations and world regions identified by DNA Tribes. DNA Tribes’ proprietary analysis has been developed by Dr. Eduardas Valaitis, who received his Doctorate in Statistics from Yale University in 2005. At the time of initial development, Dr. Valaitis was a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at American University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Valaitis’ background includes extensive work in multivariate analysis and classification, which involves identifying mathematical structure present within large and complex datasets.
This expertise allows DNA Tribes® to perform a uniquely detailed and comprehensive analysis of living world populations to identify genetic structure on an objective, mathematical basis. DNA Tribes® analysis allows the genetic relationships linking populations (often crossing perceived ethnic boundaries) to be expressed based on a thorough and detailed geographical database. All data used in our analysis come from peer-reviewed scientific studies and proprietary sources of the world population
Q: Is DNA Tribes proprietary method of analysis available elsewhere?
A: No. Some forensic calculators use the CODIS STR markers used for DNA Tribes genetic ancestry analysis. However, these calculators use forensic match calculations that are less appropriate for genetic ancestry analysis. DNA Tribes analysis is based on a unique genetic ancestry analysis developed by Dr. Eduardas Valaitis (Ph.D. in Statistics, Yale University 2005). DNA Tribes patented genetic ancestry analysis is available exclusively through DNA Tribes and is protected by the patent (U.S. PAT. NO. 8,285,486).
Q: What genetic markers are used for DNA Tribes analysis?
A: DNA Tribes uses a type of autosomal STR genetic markers developed by the FBI for individual identification. Using this system, each person’s DNA profile serves as a genetic fingerprint for that individual, with typically less than one in a trillion chance of sharing an identical profile with anyone else in the world. Because each autosomal STR profile is unique to a person, these genetic markers are also the industry standard for court-admissible paternity and maternity testing. DNA Tribes uses your highly unique autosomal STR genetic profile to measure a person’s genetic connections to world populations and world regions identified by DNA Tribes.
Further information about the DNA markers used for DNA Tribes analysis can be found at: http://www.cstl.nist.gov/biotech/strbase/
Q: Is the set of autosomal STR markers used in DNA Tribes analysis sufficient to provide a robust and detailed genetic ancestry analysis?
A: Yes. Genetic ancestry analysis requires many data points, consisting of both informative DNA markers and robust population reference data. DNA Tribes analysis uses a powerful set of industry-standard STR markers relied on by police agencies and courts of law around the world. DNA Tribes® compares each person’s unique set of highly informative STR markers to our database representing hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. This enables us to not only identify basic continental groups (e.g., African or European) but to “zoom in” further and perform the most detailed structural analysis of world populations available to identify individual genetic regions sharing unique genetic patterns. DNA Tribes customers receive the most comprehensive and detailed genetic ancestry analysis currently available based on our STR database of more than 1,200 world populations.
DNA Tribes Marker Test results include a comprehensive comparison that identifies all World Regions where your STR profile is shared, as well as how well your STR profile fits among members of each of these regions.
New but more expensive technologies have allowed the testing of thousands of SNPs or other markers. However, these analyses are currently limited by the smaller amount of global DNA reference data. Because of this lack of data, the global structure of genetic clusters inferred using these SNP markers remains incomplete.
In contrast, DNA Tribes analysis uses a suite of powerful industry-standard STR markers to provide a detailed and statistically rigorous comparison of your genetic information to 1) over 1,200 ethnic groups in all parts of the world and 2) regional genetic structure identified by Dr. Eduardas Valaitis. Our survey of world populations provides a detailed analysis of world genetic structure distinguished using these STR markers.
Q: How does DNA Tribes testing differ from SNP-based searches for distant family relatives?
A: DNA Tribes’® STR test is a “deep ancestry” test that includes a comprehensive comparison of your STR profile to living populations around the world. Other more limited tests (such as autosomal IBD searches) only locate distant relatives within the past several generations but do not fully express the more ancient genetic relationships between populations through shared origins and migrations that are retained in each part of the world.
In contrast, while DNA Tribes results can include locations associated with recent family genealogy, they can also express your ancestral relationship to world populations that predate the relatively short period recorded by paper genealogy.
Q: Can people of European family origins obtain DNA matches with Middle Eastern populations?
A: Yes. DNA Tribes results locate all world populations where a person’s autosomal DNA is shared. Results are not related to appearance and can express deeper and ancient genetic relationships that cross perceived ethnic boundaries. Specifically, results for people of European family origins can include DNA matches with Middle Eastern and, in some rare cases, South Asian or Central Asian populations. These DNA matches can express genetic traces of shared origins, migrations, and trade contacts linking Europe with neighboring populations of West Eurasia.
In the context of world genetic structure, European populations are related to both South Asian and Middle Eastern populations. For instance, the wider context for European ancestry is described in more detail in this past Digest article.
These European links with the Middle East are not limited to any individual ethnic group or region of Europe. Rather, European populations as a whole are related to Middle Eastern populations as a basic feature of world genetic structure. Genetic differences between European and Middle Eastern regions are comparable to genetic differences between Siberian and East Asian populations: that is, there are local differences between related populations that have been linked through shared origins and ongoing contacts throughout prehistory and history.
Q: Can people with mixed ancestry obtain DNA matches in native populations where a similar mixture has taken place in more ancient periods?
A: Yes. For people with mixed ancestry or ancestry from modern mixed populations, DNA match results will identify the ethnic groups and world regions where their unique combination of DNA inherited 50% from each parent can be found. Results will vary based on what genetic material has been inherited, and can identify one or more places of parental origins or in some cases intermediate populations where a similar mixture has taken place.
For instance, people with Latin American ancestry can inherit a mixture of European and Native American alleles that is similar to more ancient patterns of mixture that have taken place in Eurasian populations (including India).
This is because populations of South Asia (including present-day India and neighboring countries) have been a contact point where European, East Asian, and to some degree Near Eastern and African related populations have mixed since early periods.
For this reason, DNA Tribes matches are comprehensive and include all populations in our STR database (both native populations and modern mixed communities around the world) where a person’s DNA profile can be found. If a person’s DNA profile can be found both in native populations (such as Europe) and mixed communities (such as Latin American populations), your DNA match results will include all of the populations in our database where your combination of STR markers is shared.
Q: Can DNA Tribes provide information not available through traditional genealogy?
Yes. DNA Tribes offers a genetic analysis that includes information unavailable to traditional genealogy and can complement your genealogical research. Genealogy is a type of history documenting biographical information about lineal ancestors and can identify exact ancestors. However, genealogy cannot identify the specific genetic connections passed down by these ancestors. This is because genealogy deals with only the means of DNA transmission and not with the substance itself. The autosomal genetic analysis offered by DNA Tribes can complement genealogical research by identifying your genetic connections to living populations passed down by your ancestors.
For instance, genealogical research might document that a person’s grandparents originated in Ireland, Germany, and Italy. However, members of each of these national populations exhibit a range of individual genetic variations that genealogy cannot identify. (Detailed analysis of the genetic composition of ethnic groups around the world is available in our global survey.) Additionally, family members each inherit a unique combination of DNA from these grandparents. One grandchild might inherit DNA most typical of Ireland; another, DNA typical of Italy; and another, a blending of DNA typical of Central European populations living between these countries of origin. This is because genealogical “fractions” can only provide non-genetic information about historical ancestors, which can then be complemented by genetic information measuring the connections to living populations that each person inherits. Just as with physical appearance, each person possesses a unique combination of DNA that exists as a whole with genetic relations to living populations as well as to historical ancestors.
Q: Do my DNA Tribes results prove my membership in a certain ethnic group?
A: Your top matches reflect the populations in our database where your DNA profile is most common. A match with a particular ethnic or national population sample does not guarantee that you or a recent ancestor (parent or grandparent, for instance) are self-identified “members” of that ethnic group. However, a match does indicate a population where your combination of ancestry is common, which is most often due to shared ancestry with that population.
For instance, an African-American might match populations from Cape Verde (an island nation off the coast of West Africa) or Belem, Brazil. Like African-Americans, members of these populations are descendants of a recent blending of Europeans and Africans. A Global Population match with either of these populations could be due to a similar blending of African and European ancestors. Likewise, a match with a population of Caucasians in Indiana, U.S.A. does not necessarily indicate your ancestors came from Indiana, U.S.A., but instead indicates that your blend of genetic ancestry is common within that population.
Nevertheless, DNA Tribes matches reflect a rigorous statistical comparison of your unique DNA to living populations as they exist today. Although results do not always relate directly to particular genealogical events, all match results reflect the genetic relations of individuals to the complex texture of actual world populations. For instance, a very small fraction of European individuals inherits a DNA profile that is most frequent in India. Indian affiliation is most common in Roma (Gypsy) populations but can be also found in non-Roma populations throughout Europe. (More details on this topic are available in our global survey of world populations). While this result does not necessarily indicate a direct ancestor from India such as a great-grandparent, it does reflect the small but significant overlap between some individuals in European and South Asian populations.
Q: Does DNA Tribes STR Test prove identity?
A: Identity is a complex construct defined by a very personal combination history, geography, and culture. While a DNA test alone cannot define a person’s identity, results from our analysis can provide important clues to your ancestral origins within major world regions and individual ethnic groups. Alongside genealogical, historical, and cultural information, our analysis can contribute another important piece to the puzzle of your personal identity.
Q: Can test results be used to apply for Native American tribal enrollment or to obtain official Indian status?
A: No. However, DNA Tribes results can provide genetic clues as to the regions and living tribal populations where a person’s DNA is most common. Because of the strong genetic differences observed between American Indian populations, test results can provide evidence to assist in the documentary and genealogical research necessary to establish historical ties to particular Native American tribal nations.
Approximately 1/4 of Native American ancestry is generally necessary to identify a regional or tribal genetic affiliation. The most informative results can be obtained by testing the available relative (of either gender) who is most closely related to Native American ancestors. Although DNA matches cannot prove tribal ancestry for official purposes, testing can provide genetic clues to your origins to help locate documentation of descent from an enrolled ancestor (required for membership by most tribal organizations).
For interested tribal enrollment officials, please contact for more information about how the information in DNA Tribes® results can be interpreted and applied, or for more information about private group ancestry studies.
Q: How is ancestry from tribes not listed in DNA Tribes database (such as ancestry from Cherokee and other Southeastern tribes) expressed in results?
A: Ancestry from tribal nations not yet listed in our database is expressed in match scores for the nearest genetic region in Part D of each report. For instance, ancestry from tribal nations of the Southeastern United States such as the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek (Muskogee) is expressed in match scores for the North Amerindian genetic World Region. Ancestry from Southeastern tribes can also be expressed in match scores for the Mexican and Mayan genetic World Regions to reflect ancient migrations from west to east in this part of North America.
Q: DNA Tribes materials use the terms “Native American” and “American Indian” to describe indigenous populations of the Americas. How are these terms used?
A: DNA Tribes® uses both terms (“Native American” and “American Indian”) inclusively to describe indigenous peoples living in North, Central, and South America (including native Alaskans). This is because all indigenous populations throughout the Americas share unique genetic characteristics that distinguish them from other world populations. More information about these genetic relationships is available in our Global Survey.
Moreover, DNA Tribes uses both terms synonymously, because each term remains in use today. The term “Native American” has become more common in academic texts and other forms of discourse in the United States. DNA Tribes uses the term “Native American” inclusively, to reflect the genetic continuity among indigenous populations throughout the Americas
In addition, the term “American Indian” also remains in widespread use, particularly among indigenous communities living in what is sometimes called the “Indian Country” (the parts of the United States where indigenous cultures thrive to the present day). DNA Tribes uses the term “American Indian” to emphasize this living continuity and sovereignty of indigenous peoples, who continue the many traditions of their elders to the present day.
Q: How do DNA Tribes match results relate to historical events?
A: Many living populations retain genetic material that dates to their founding in ancient times as well as traces of more recent events. The genetic patterns identified by DNA Tribes® relate primarily to geography: living ethnic groups are most often related to their neighbors, sharing common ties to world regions that can cross ethnic and cultural divisions. Some populations that have migrated from their homelands also retain genetic connections to their places of origin: for instance, Polish Tatars retain stronger Mongolian genetic signatures than are seen elsewhere in Europe.
However, the relation of genetics to historical events presents many difficulties and often requires reference to non-genetic information. The similarities observed among some neighboring populations of differing language and culture suggest ancient regional patterns of contact that can predate and outlast ethnic groupings. For instance, Mediterranean affiliations observed in North Africa, the Levant, and Western Europe could reflect historical influences of Greeks or Romans, but likely also reflect older, enduring contacts that predate those particular civilizations. DNA Tribes® encourages our customers to explore the historical dimensions of ancestry, and provides a detailed, empirical genetic analysis for a solid foundation to enable this research.
Q: How are the DNA Tribes world regions defined?
A: DNA Tribes® is the only genetic ancestry analysis that identifies world regions based on mathematical patterns of unique genetic variation. Other tests rely on non-scientific racial divisions. These presumed racial groupings present an incorrect and incomplete view of genetic patterns actually present in the world. Simplistic divisions of the world into 3-5 continents ignores important unique regions that do not neatly fall into presumed racial categories, such as North Africa, Polynesia, or Tibet.
DNA Tribes® analysis does not make any assumptions based on non-scientific racial divisions; instead, DNA Tribes® defines world regions using objective mathematical criteria. Many of these world regions correspond to cultural or linguistic groups. For instance, Slavic-speaking peoples comprise the majority of populations in Slavic- Baltic region. Other world regions cross national and cultural boundaries as they exist today and reflect the genetic imprint of older patterns of human interactions in these regions.
A map illustrating the world regions identified by our unique mathematical analysis can be viewed by selecting Populations.
Q: Why are population matches presented in separate Native and Global rankings?
A: Each person’s ranked population results are divided into Native and Global Population matches. Native Population Match results include indigenous populations with minimal admixture in the past 500 years, such as Native Amazonians, Scottish, Egyptians, or Japanese. Global Population Match results include these indigenous populations and modern Diaspora ethnic groups such as African-Americans, European-Americans, or Asian- Americans. Modern Diaspora populations are descended from immigrants who have relatively recently moved from their homelands to live around the world, often mixing with other peoples.
Many people with Diaspora origins obtain their strongest population matches with modern, mixed populations rather than with non-mixed, indigenous populations. Population matches are divided between Native and Global to identify these Diaspora affiliations as well as genetic links to indigenous peoples. For instance, many African- Americans match African Diaspora populations such as African-Americans, Afro-Brazilians, and related peoples. However, their Native Match results indicate roots in indigenous African, and to a lesser degree European or Native American populations.
Q: What are MLI scores?
A: Each DNA Tribes Native and Global Population Match and World Region Match is listed with a Match Likelihood Index (MLI) score that indicates your odds of belonging to that population relative to your odds of belonging to a generic human population. For instance, a Native Population Match with Macedonia of 45.2 indicates your genetic make-up is 45.2 more likely to occur in Macedonia than in a population comprised of completely mixed individuals.
Population and world region match results are provided in a ranked listing, from the most to the least likely. Top-ranked MLI scores indicate your best population or regional matches in the DNA Tribes database. All matches can be compared against each other as odds ratios. For instance, if you obtain a score of 25.0 for Bavarian and 5.0 for Macedonian populations, this implies your genetic profile is 25.0/5.0 = 5.0 times more likely to be common in Bavaria than in Macedonia.
Q: What are typical scores for my ethnic group? Are my scores very high or low?
A: Individuals within each population exhibit a characteristic range of world region scores. This range varies by world region and ethnicity. For this reason, each MLI score in your population and world region rankings is assigned a percentile-based TribeScore that expresses how your MLI score fits among members of that population or region.
Q: What are TribeScores?
TribeScores are a unique scoring method developed by DNA Tribes® that compares a person’s MLI scores for a population to the scores of actual members within that ethnic group or region. Each DNA Tribes® match includes a TribeScore in parentheses, listing your MLI score’s percentile in that population. For instance, results listing “Switzerland (0.73)” indicate that your MLI score is higher than 73% of scores from this Swiss reference population and lower than 27% of these Swiss individuals. TribeScores of 5% and below are outside of the expected range for a population, and TribeScores above 25% and above are ordinary or typical for members of that population. In summary, TribeScores indicates how high or low your score is in the specific context of each population, providing the necessary point of reference to explain each MLI score.
Q: Can a person of one ethnic group obtain their strongest match with another group or even a world region?
A: Yes. Each population includes a spectrum of gene frequencies. Within that spectrum, some alleles (genes) will be typical of that general region, some will be typical of nearby regions, and some might be more unique to that ethnic group.
It is common for people to imagine a population in terms of general or distinctive characteristics. However, individuals within any population exhibit a range of variations. While red hair might seem typical of Irish descent, red hair is only found in a minority of Irish people and can be found in many other populations and even continents. The same is true of genetic ancestry. Some individuals in an ethnic population group might carry alleles (genes) that are highly typical of that group. However, all will retain genetic connections to other nearby populations, and some will retain a primary affiliation with other world regions.
A global survey of world region affiliations within a variety of populations can be viewed by clicking here. This survey illustrates the spectrum of regional affiliations for a variety of national and ethnic populations. DNA Tribes results for an individual from that group could include any affiliation represented within that population
Q: How can I compare my DNA Tribes results with information from other genetic ancestry tests?
A: DNA Tribes provides a unique perspective on genetic ancestry by measuring a person’s genetic connections to individual populations and world regions. This information can complement results from the Y chromosome, mtDNA or admixture tests to provide a more comprehensive picture of your genetic ancestry.
DNA Tribes have several advantages over other types of genetic ancestry tests. More specifically, Y chromosome and mtDNA tests can indicate the lineage a person has inherited from one direct lineal ancestor (male or female respectively). This can be traced through particular genealogical ancestors, providing a direct correspondence with traditional documentary (paper) genealogy. However, while each person has thousands of lineal ancestors even within the past 500 years, Y chromosome or mtDNA tests can only provide information about two of these ancestors.
SNP Admixture tests usually estimate a person’s contribution from several broad continental groups. Like our STR test, admixture tests use genetic material passed down from a sampling of numerous ancestors. Admixture tests assume a person is descended from a handful of obvious regions, such as Western Europe and East Asia. However, most people in the world are not descended from a mixture of Western Europeans, East Asians, West Africans, and Central Americans. DNA Tribes analysis measures a person’s genetic connections to over 1,200 populations and 30 world regions providing thorough coverage of world genetic structure. Each of these world regions retains unique characteristics that cannot be described by a basic division of the world into just a few obvious (continental) divisions. For instance, North African Berbers are not a mixture of Europeans and West Africans but are unique peoples with distinctive genetic characteristics. DNA Tribes measures your connections to important world regions such as Eastern Europe, North India, or Northeast Amerindians that can be overlooked or misclassified by most admixture tests.
In summary, DNA Tribes can provide information not available from other types of analysis. This information can be combined with results from other DNA tests for a more thoroughly detailed picture of your genetic ancestry.
Q: Do my results show what percentage of various groups I am?
A: DNA Tribes’ STR test does not perform an admixture calculation, thus the report does not provide percentages. DNA Tribes produces a statistical likelihood analysis based on actual allele (gene) frequencies scientifically measured in over 1,200 world population samples. Admixture estimates can be useful in certain conditions (especially for medical purposes). However, admixture analysis requires many assumptions, including the designation of “non-mixed” populations based primarily on racial groups defined by society. In reality, no population is “100% unmixed” or completely isolated from other populations. Genes can be shared between populations due to common origins, historical invasions, or slow diffusion by local contact over many generations.
Our unique method of analysis is informative for anyone from anywhere in the world because DNA Tribes® analysis makes no pre-defined assumptions about ancestral groups but instead directly compares your DNA profile to world populations. Moreover, instead of estimating admixture, DNA Tribes measure a person’s genetic connections to individual populations, thereby identifying the ethnic groups and world regions where a person’s DNA profile is most common. For people of multiple origins, DNA Tribes test results will identify the ethnic groups and world regions where your unique combination of DNA can be found. Results will vary based on what genetic material has been inherited, and can identify one of more places of parental origins or in some cases intermediate populations where similar mixtures have taken place.
Q: Why do DNA Tribes results identify the populations where a person’s DNA profile is most common, instead of estimating admixture from major racial groups?
DNA Tribes® analysis is an empirical analysis that identifies a person’s best genetic fit among living world populations. Although admixture analysis is appropriate only in a limited context, DNA Tribes’ unbiased method of analysis is appropriate for both individuals of mixed and unmixed backgrounds. For people of mixed origins, DNA Tribes results reflect the genetic material actually passed down from both paternal and maternal ancestors. However, the admixture is only one of several processes that shape human genetic diversity. Although the human genetic landscape has been influenced by major admixture events (such as the European colonization of Latin America), this genetic structure also reflects the complex interplay of processes including shared historical origins of populations, internal processes such as genetic drift, and gradual small-scale gene flow. For this reason, a simple model of admixture does not explain human variation, and admixture analysis can generate misleading or incomplete results. DNA Tribes analysis provides a direct comparison of your DNA to over 1,200 individual populations, reflecting the full genetic complexity of living populations.
Q: How can DNA Tribes identify Native American ancestry?
A: DNA Tribes can identify Native American ancestry through a match with a particular Native American population or a with a Native American world region. DNA Tribes currently includes a number of Native American tribal populations in our database.
Additionally, DNA Tribes distinguish a number of major Native American world regions. A listing of these with a map can be found by selecting Populations.
A distinct world region called Metis-Mestizo, identified by DNA Tribes, includes a recent mixture of Native Americans with Europeans and Africans. For many people of mixed ancestry with a substantial Native American component, the Metis-Mestizo world region will be their strongest World Region Match. This can often be corroborated by a substantial (match score greater than 1.0) match with another Native American world region.
The Native American regions identified by DNA Tribes analysis are highly distinct from European and African world regions. For this reason, customers with distant Native American ancestors are unlikely to obtain a substantial Native American match in their population or world region results. In such cases, a Native American Panel (see below for more information on add-on panels) can identify Native American populations that are closest to the customer’s DNA. A DNA Tribes® Fact Sheet about DNA testing and American Indian ancestry research and enrollment can be downloaded here.
Q: What are the DNA Tribes Native American Panel and African Panel?
A: For some customers of partial African or Native American descent, matches from another world region (for example, Northwest Europe) can dominate their Native and Global Population Match results, reflecting their predominant ancestry. The DNA Tribes African and Native American Panels are supplementary ranked listings of a person’s match scores for indigenous populations from a particular World Region (African Panel contains Sub- Saharan African populations; Native American panel contains Native American populations).
As an example, a person of African and European descent might inherit strong genetic signals from Europe resulting in mostly European Top Native Match results, without an indication of genetic roots in indigenous African populations. African Panel results provide a supplementary ranked list of a person’s matches with all indigenous Sub-Saharan African populations, including those that do not appear in the Top 20 Native Population Match results.
Likewise, a person of European and Native American descent might inherit strong genetic signals from Europe resulting in mostly European Top Native Match results, without an indication of affiliations with Native American populations. Native American Panel results provide a supplementary ranked list of a person’s matches with all unmixed Native American populations, including those that do not appear in the Top 20 Native Population Match results.
As with all individual population matches, African or Native American Panel results measure a person’s genetic connections to individual ethnic and national populations. Match scores from each panel can be directly compared to that person’s Top Native and Global Population Match results. Additional DNA testing is not required for these supplementary reports. African or Native American Panels can be ordered together with a person’s testing kit or any time afterward.
Q: Do DNA Tribes results correspond to physical appearance?
A: Our analysis uses neutral genetic markers not associated with physical appearance. Neutral genetic markers are locations within a person’s DNA not associated with the phenotype (appearance) and not subject to natural selection. For instance, a person might have light hair and eye pigmentation while still retaining some neutral genetic links to Middle Eastern populations.
Q: Do DNA Tribes results indicate any medical conditions?
A: No. DNA Tribes® is a genetic ancestry analysis not related to any medical conditions.
Q: Are my DNA Tribes test results used strictly for DNA Tribes geographical analysis, instead of being collected for pharmaceutical research?
A: Yes. Your DNA Tribes lab results are used strictly for your personal geographical ancestry analysis and for internal research and development of DNA Tribes geographical analysis. The price of your DNA Tribes test reflects the real costs of lab testing, with no secondary uses for medical research or reselling of your data to third parties.
DNA Tribes® respects your right to choose how your genetic data are collected and used. DNA Tribes will never ask you any questions about your health or private medical history, and your DNA Tribes data will never be used for pharmaceutical research and development or otherwise sold or shared with any third parties.
A: DNA Tribes is committed to the highest standards of genetic confidentiality and anonymity. DNA Tribes does not rent, sell, or share personal information about you with other people or companies.
Q: How can I send payment by check or money order?
A: Orders can be placed through our secure online storefront only, allowing us to provide your genetic ancestry analysis more quickly and securely.
Q: Where do I mail my DNA sample?
A: Once you have collected your DNA sample using our easy cheek swab collection kit, please return it to our partner laboratory using the return envelope enclosed with your kit. If your return envelope has been lost or damaged, please contact DNA Tribes customer support.
Q: DNA Tribes does not yet include my ancestral population. Would DNA Tribes test be informative in my case?
A: DNA Tribes is continually expanding our population database to be as comprehensive as possible. However, for customers whose ethnic group is not yet included in our database, DNA Tribes results will identify the nearest populations and regions in our database where your genetic ancestry is best represented. If we are later able to include your ancestral population in our database, you can simply order an update for your analysis to reflect this new data without further DNA testing.
Our Mission at DNA Tribes is to bring you maximum information using cutting-edge science at an affordable price. For merchant information, including shipping information and return policy.
I’ve always been interested in DNA testing and genealogy. My DNA testing research is approved by my teachers at the Boston University of Genealogy. I’ve been following DNA testing’s rise since its first appearance in 2006.