What DNA ancestry tests can — and can’t — tell you


I took a DNA ancestry test. It didn’t tell me where my ancestors came from…

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At-home DNA ancestry tests have become hugely popular in recent years. More than 26 million have taken one of these tests. If their marketing is to be believed, they can help you learn where your DNA comes from, and even where your ancestors lived.

But the information that can be inferred from your DNA is actually much more limited than testing companies are letting on. And that has lead consumers to misinterpret their results — which is having negative consequences.

Further reading:

The limits of ancestry DNA tests, explained

Was I part British, part Dutch, a little bit Jewish? The oddness of DNA tests.

White nationalists are flocking to genetic ancestry tests — with surprising results

Direct-to-consumer racial admixture tests and beliefs about essential racial differences

The human genome diversity panel browser

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