When first uploading your dna file to GEDmatch, the website can be very intimidating. Let’s be honest, the website looks a little outdated however, don’t let that make you think it has nothing to offer. One of it’s best tools which, in all honesty, is better than AncestryDNA, 23andMe, MyHeritage, and FtDNA is GEDmatch’s admixture calculators.
These admixture calculators take into account the fact that countries are not borders that depict where our DNA can come from. Rather than running reports and telling you that you are X amount of Irish, English, or French they display terms like “North Atlantic” which covers a wide range of places and countries. When it comes to running your kit through these calculators it is important to know which ones to use. And, with that, let’s get into it!
GedMatch offers a wide variety of different projects when dealing with the admixture utility. If you know the ethnic background of the person who owns the kit, this makes it easier to figure out which project to run the kit through. There are also projects that allow you to run a kit of someone who’s ethnic background you don’t know.
Using these projects, it will display your ethnic breakdown/estimate with the following categories:
- Amerindian or Amerind – Native American
- Anatolian – Modern day Turkey (some surrounding areas)
- Ancestral Altaic – Asia and Eastern Europe (excludes Southern Asia)
- ANE – Ancient North Eurasian
- Archaic African – prehistoric Africans
- Archaic Human – prehistoric humans around 500,000 years ago
- ASE – Ancient/Ancestral South Eurasian
- Ashkenazi – Ashkenazi Jewish of central/eastern Europe (not Sephardic Jewish)
- ASI – Ancient/Ancestral South Indian
- Australian – Aboriginals of Australia
- Australoid – Indigenous Peoples to Southeast Asia, South Asia, Australia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia, and parts of East Asia.
- Austronesian – “relating to or denoting a family of languages spoken in an area extending from Madagascar in the west to the Pacific islands in the east” (Google).
- Baloch – Iranian Plateau and Arabian Peninsula (primarily the Middle East)
- Baltic – Baltic sea region
- Bantu – Central and south Africa
- Basal – Basal Eurasian
- Beringian – Regions surrounding the Bering Strait (Eastern Russia and Alaska)
- Biaka – Nomadic Mbenga pygmy people who live in southwestern Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo.
- Caucasian/Caucasus – Caucasus region, the border between Europe and Asia in between the Black sea and the Caspian Sea
- CHG – Caucasus Hunter Gatherers
- EHG – Eastern Hunter-Gatherer
- ENF – Early Neolithic Farmer
- Fennoscandian – Scandinavia and Finland
- Gedrosia – Semi-desert coastal strip in Balochistan, in Pakistan and Iran, along the coast of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman (Modern day Makran).
- Khoisan – Southern Africa
- Mbuti – Pygmy group in the Congo region of Africa
- Melanesian – Oceana sub-region (and occasionally Australasia) spanning from the West end of the Pacific Ocean to the Arafura Sea, and east to Fiji.
- Mesoamerican – Native American in Mexico, Central and South America
- NAF – Neolithic Anatolian Farmer
- Oceanian – Aboriginals of the Pacific Ocean islands (may include Australia)
- Omotic – Southwest Ethiopia
- Papuan – New Guinea and surrounding regions
- Pastoralist – Sheep or cattle farmer
- Pygmy – equatorial Africa and Southeast Asia
- San – Bushmen of southern Africa
- SEA – South East Asian
- SSA – Sub-Saharan African
- Steppe – Ancient North Eurasian hunter-gatherers
- Tungus-Altaic – Northeast China and Siberia
- WHG – Western Hunter-Gatherer
- WHG-UHG – Western Hunter-Gatherer/Unknown Hunter-Gatherer
- Volga-Ural – Part of Russia (mainly central)
Gedmatch admixture calculators
Before accessing these results, you will select a project. There are several projects and within them are several calculator options. The Admixture Projects are as follow:
MDLP (Magnus Ducatus Lituaniae Project)
MDLP is a tool which allows you to get an understanding of the ethnic background of an individual kit if you have no idea of the information. Generally, for hobbyists not in the identification space, you won’t need to worry about this tool. This global calculator is an algorithm which takes your results and pinpoints which parts of the world your DNA corresponds with. This is a great tool if, for instance, you are running the kit of an individual who has no idea of their ethnic background (Adoptee, John Doe, Perp kit for LE).
This Admixture Project is generally the one to choose for those with ethnic backgrounds coming from Europe. Most caucasian Americans and Europeans themselves will use this Admixture Project. Keep in mind though that this also does include populations that span out of Europe and other sub-continental regions. This should be to the go-to Admixture Project if you’re running your own kit as long as you have European Ancestry.
For those who do not come from solely European ancestry, Dodecad is the Admixture project you would like to utilize. This algorithm is directed toward those who retain Asian and African ancestry. If you have a mixed ethnic background, it definitely can be utilized, too.
HarappaWorld is an algorithmic Admixture Project which is pinpointed to those who have South Asian Ancestry. If you are unsure which Asian admixture project to use, certainly use both of them.
Ethiohelix is another Admixture Project which is based for those who have African ancestry. Kits can also be run through Dodecad as well or if you have mixed ancestry.
puntDAL is a project that is solely setup on the basis of ancient DNA. This goes far back than anybody’s family tree and so regardless of your ethnic background it could be a fun project to run your DNA through.
Those with an Indian and Asian ancestry can run their GEDmatch kits through this Admixture Project.
All of the above projects were created and maintained by individuals in the genetics field. They are true academics who know much more than I will ever pretend to know. Most commonly used for genealogical purposes is the Eurogenes K13 Admixture calculator. If you’re caucasian and wanting to know your ethnic estimate from GEDmatch, that is the option you would choose. Otherwise, select one of the other Admixture projects. Generally, after you have selected your Admixture Project the calculator with, by default, populate with the most commonly used algorithm. Unless you know of another calculator to use within that admixture project, I would stick with the default.
Oracle and Oracle-4
After you have run your kit through an admixture project, your results will be displayed. If you use a more popular/common calculator there is an option for “Oracle” or “Oracle 4” (also lists Oracle beside the admixture selection on home page). What are these additions and how do they differ? They both offer more in-depth and specific. Some may be narrowed down to certain ethnic groups in certain countries which, as well as specific religious groups.
Will display your results with “Single Population Sharing” which indicates which specific single population you closely match with. It displays distance numerically so, the smaller the distance number, the closer you match. If your ancestors did not all come from the same geographical area or ethnic group, the data might look skewed. This tool might not be suitable for you. However, “Mixed Mode Population Sharing” might suit you better.
“Mixed Mode Population Sharing” takes the top two highest populations you match with and displays it much the same as the Single Population Sharing. However, it takes into account multiple populations thus it won’t skew the data. This might be more suitable if you have ancestors in more than one (but fewer than two) ethnic groups within your family. Distance is measured the same way. If you have more than two, Oracle-4 will be the tool for you.
Oracle-4 has 4 different options which display the data very similar to “Single Mode” and “Mixed Mode” population sharing. The big difference is that, unlike “Single Mode” and “Mixed Mode” population sharing, it takes into account up to 4 different populations, geographic regions, or ethnic groups for those who’s genetic data are more diverse.
It is important to take into consideration and really understand which Admixture Project and which calculator will best fit the selected kit. GEDmatch offers so many tools and algorithms that mainstream genetic companies cannot compete with and the more time you spend with them, the more you will understand how they work and, eventually, you will learn more about your own genetic make-up.