I just got my 23andme results back last night, and I’m pretty excited. There’s a lot of very cool information, and I love how 23andme creates graphics so you can better understand what is happening in your own way. It’ll take me a long time to savor all of the genetics data goodness, but I’d like to share one striking result from the Ancestry Composition tool.

Ancestry Composition tells you what percent of your DNA comes from each of 22 populations worldwide. The analysis includes DNA you received from all of your ancestors, on both sides of your family. The results reflect where your ancestors lived 500 years ago, before ocean-crossing ships and airplanes came on the scene.

According to 23andme, my genes are 100% European.
  • 40% Northern European
    • 4.9% French and German
    • 0.7% British and Irish
    • 34.3% Nonspecific Northern European
  • 29.5% Eastern European
  • 0.5% Southern European
    • 0.1% Balkan
    • 0.4% Nonspecific Southern European
  • 30.0% Nonspecific European

None of this is unexpected. My lineage includes German, Irish, French, and Polish. I was expecting a higher percentage of these, but the rest is likely lumped in “nonspecific”. I am 50% Polish (on the maternal side), which falls into Eastern European. Here’s how 23andme defines this region:

Eastern Europe, represented by people of Ukraine, Russia, Poland and Hungary, is bordered on the east by the Ural Mountains. Although there are no such geographic borders to the west, eastern Europe has been distinct from European countries to the west in terms of cultural and linguistic affiliations.

Even though the overall percentage is only 29.5, the actual genes tell another story. My mom’s DNA was passed to me in large chunks, according to the image below depicting my chromosomes. The sections in darker blue represent those from “Eastern Europe”. It’s no surprise that my X chromosome is all Polish – thanks, mom! 🙂


This leads me to a question: how does 23andme deal with recombination. Was my mom’s DNA passed to me in these big chunks, or did 23andme just assemble the data into these chunks?


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