We’re excited to announce an addition to DNA Matches on MyHeritage — you can now compare your Genetic Groups to those of your DNA Matches.
In late December 2020, we introduced Genetic Groups, an enhancement to our Ethnicity Estimate which increases the resolution of MyHeritage DNA’s ethnicity breakdown to 2,114 geographic regions. Since then, we’ve been working to improve the feature and add new components requested by users, and in January 2021 we released the first set of user interface improvements.
Comparing the shared genetic characteristics of your DNA Matches is very useful and can help you figure out how you might be related. Previously, on the Review DNA Match page, you were able to view the Ethnicity Estimate of your DNA Matches and see which ethnicities you share. Now, you can drill down even further and see which Genetic Groups they belong to, and which ones you have in common.
Comparing your Shared Ethnicities and Genetic Groups
Previously on the Review Match page, there was a Shared Ethnicities component that displayed your DNA Match’s Ethnicity Estimate with your Shared Ethnicities highlighted. Shared Ethnicities are regions where you and your DNA Match may have common ancestral origins, and identifying them may give you some clues about shared ancestors.
With the new update, this section of the page now allows you to compare your Genetic Groups results in addition to your Ethnicity Estimates. We have organized the new component so that beneath the comparison between your DNA Match’s Ethnicity Estimate and your own, you’ll find a list of Genetic Groups to which you and your DNA Match belong. Ethnicities and Genetic Groups listed in bold are the ones you have in common with the match you are currently reviewing.
The ethnicities are listed first, sorted from highest to lowest according to the percentage of each ethnicity in your results. Then, the Genetic Groups are listed: first, the Genetic Groups you share, sorted according to confidence level; then, the Genetic Groups you have that your match doesn’t; and finally, the Genetic Groups your DNA Match has that you do not.
On the right, you’ll find a dynamic section where you can learn more about the ethnicities and Genetic Groups: a map with a polygon indicating the geographic region of the ethnicity or Genetic Group and a description.
When you click on one of the ethnicities or groups on the list, the box on the right will update to show you its polygon on the map and a more detailed description.
If you hover over a Genetic Group on the list, you’ll see a tooltip with the description of that group and an indication for the confidence levels that you and the DNA Match have for that Genetic Group.
There are three confidence levels: low, medium, and high, based on the quality and quantity of the segments that are shared with the genetic data that represents each group.
Click on the ethnicity or group to see the full description, or choose “Learn more” to see additional information for that specific ethnicity or Genetic Group.
By default, you will see the DNA Match’s full Ethnicity Estimate and Genetic Groups results alongside yours, so you can compare them for yourself. If you prefer to view only the ethnicities and Genetic Groups you have in common, you can click the “Shared only” button on the top right corner.
How do Shared Genetic Groups help with genealogy?
Comparing your Genetic Groups to those of your DNA Matches can help you in several ways.
As mentioned above, viewing the genetic characteristics you share with your match can help you determine how they might be related to you. For example, if you know your mother has Scandinavian heritage while your father’s side is mostly from Greece and southern Europe, Scandinavian ethnicity could indicate that the match is related to you through your mother’s side.
Genetic Groups help you drill down even further. What if both your mother and your father were from Scandinavia? In that case, knowing that your DNA Match has some Scandinavian ethnicity wouldn’t help you very much. But if your mother’s family was from Denmark and your father’s from eastern Sweden, and you and your DNA Match share the Genetic Group called Denmark (North Region) — that could indicate that you may be related through your mother’s side.
Taking this even further, if you know your mother’s mother was from Svendborg and your mother’s father was from northern Denmark, this Shared Genetic Group could indicate that your common ancestor is on your maternal grandfather’s side — considerably narrowing down the possibilities.
Who can view Shared Ethnicities and Genetic Groups?
Shared Ethnicities and Genetic Groups is a premium feature that requires a paid MyHeritage plan (Complete, Premium, or PremiumPlus). Users without a MyHeritage plan will not be able to view this section of the Review DNA Match page. Users who upload their raw DNA data from another testing service to MyHeritage can pay a one-time fee of $29 per kit to unlock all advanced DNA features offered by MyHeritage, including Shared Ethnicities and Genetic Groups. Learn more about our subscription plans.
If you do not want your DNA Matches to view your ethnicity results or Genetic Groups, you may turn off this capability through the “My privacy” page, in the “My DNA preferences tab”. Turn off the checkbox labeled “Allow my DNA Matches to view my Ethnicity Estimate and Genetic Groups”.
Comparing the shared genetic characteristics of your DNA Matches can help you figure out how you might be related. Previously, on the Review DNA Match page, you were able to view the Ethnicity Estimate of your DNA Matches and see which ethnicities you share. Now, you can drill down even further and see which Genetic Groups they belong to, and which ones you have in common. This can help you gain further insight into your relationships with your matches, learn more about your roots, and might even break through some brick walls in your genealogy research.
Source: My Heritage