WHY the New AncestryDNA Communities are Exciting

Sunny Morton

Share with a friend: 

AncestryDNA Genetic Communities are growing again! Read about why we’re ESPECIALLY excited to see these new communities for the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Western Asia and Eastern Africa.

AncestryDNA New Genetic Communities Balkans East Africa Meditteranean Western Asia IO.pngAncestryDNA has released new Genetic Communities! These ones are especially key for crucial crossroads in world migration history.

AncestryDNA’s Genetic Communities are groups of AncestryDNA testers who likely descend from a group of people who lived in the same place and/or traveled along specific migration paths together. Identifying your genetic affiliation with a Community gives you clues about your ancestors’ stories (and sometimes helps you trace them).

New and Expanded AncestryDNA Genetic Communities

It’s been fascinating to watch the growth of AncestryDNA’s Genetic Communities since they first debuted in 2019. The newest additions, announced on May 26, 2021, feature new and expanded Communities in the Mediterranean, Western Asia, the Balkans, and Africa.

Our resident ethnicity guru, Jayne Ekins, got excited when she saw the new Communities described below. Why? It’s the idea of “‘where occidental meets oriental,’” she says.

View of Khor Virap, an Armenian monastery located in the Ararat plain with the Mount Ararat in the background. By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52439216.

View of Khor Virap, an Armenian monastery located in the Ararat plain with the Mount Ararat in the background. By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52439216.

“I worked with a collaborating scientist from China 15 years ago who had great interest in this idea because it’s a region of the world that typically gets sampled last,” Jayne writes. “Geneticists start by characterizing populations that are really polar opposites, and strongly diverged from one another– think Northern Europeans vs East Asians vs Aboriginal Australians vs Subsaharan Africans. They get strong signals on genetic diversity from these populations.”

“Places like Western Asia and The Balkans are more of a historical crossroads,” Jayne continues. “Genetic techniques hadn’t been developed yet to sort out signal that was more nuanced in these ‘middle places.”

“Ancestry is doing just that with the new Genetic Community offerings. And that’s an exciting landmark that holds promise not just for people that have ancestry in one of these newly represented communities, but for everyone. The technology is here that can resolve detailed genetic community relationships for people all over the world.

AncestryDNA Genetic Communities East Africa new.jpg

NEW: East Africa Genetic Community

Previously, no Genetic Community had been defined specific to Eastern Africa. The new East Africa Genetic Community encompasses a broad area covering many modern-day nations from the mouth of the Red Sea south along the Indian Ocean and inland.

Mediterranean Genetic Communities

BEFORE: The Mediterranean area had 2 Genetic Communities.

BEFORE: The Mediterranean area had 2 Genetic Communities.

NOW: The Mediterranean area now has 30 Genetic Communities!

NOW: The Mediterranean area now has 30 Genetic Communities!

The 30 Mediterranean communities now include:

  • Sephardic Jews
  • South Greece (subdivided into West Peloponnese; Southwest Peloponnese; South Peloponnese; Peloponnese; Southeast Peloponnese; Central Greece; and Ionian Islands)
  • West Anatolia & Aegean Islands (subdivided into Dodecanese Islands; East Central Aegean Islands; West Central Aegean Islands; Crete; and North Aegean Islands)
  • North Anatolia
  • Western Levant (subdivided into Southern Lebanon & Damascus; Northern Lebanon & Northwest Syria; Israel, Beruit & Damascus; and Lebanon)
  • Northern Lebanon & Mount Lebanon (subdivided into Mount Lebanon and North Lebanon)
  • Eastern Mediterranean & Egypt (subdivided into Egypt North & Sudan; Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia; Lebanon and Syria; and Lebanon)
  • Cyprus

Western Asia Genetic Communities

BEFORE: Western Asia was a single Genetic Community.

BEFORE: Western Asia was a single Genetic Community.

NOW: Western Asia now has 15 Genetic Communities!

NOW: Western Asia now has 15 Genetic Communities!

Western Asian Genetic Communities now include:

  • Iran
  • Eastern Anataloia/Armenia (subdivided into East Turkey and Armenia; Armenia; Turkey and Syria border and Armenia; and Turkey and Armenia)
  • Iraq
  • Iraq & Iran
  • Northern Iraq & Iran
  • Eastern Armenia & Iran
  • Eastern Anatolia

New: Balkans Genetic Communities

AncestryDNA Genetic Communities Balkans new.jpg

There weren’t any Genetic Communities in the Balkans before this recent update. Now there are 10:

  • Albania, Northern Greece & North Macedonia (subdivided into Greece Northeast; Albania South; Albania Central; and Macedonia West)
  • Bulgaria
  • Southern Romania
  • Northern Romania
  • Western Balkans
  • Eastern European Roma

More Genetic Communities Coming

Since launching Genetic Communities in 2019, Ancestry has updated them at least twice a year. (They announced updates twice in 2019 after the initial launch; twice in 2020; and this is already the second time in 2021.) See our full description of AncestryDNA’s Genetic Communities (we try to keep these updated!).

So we expect more and more new Communities to be forthcoming—and more detailed resolution of existing Communities. “Don’t worry if yours isn’t here yet,” Jayne assures us. “Just buckle your seat belt and hold on. It’s coming!”

More on DNA Ethnicity and Migratory Communities

We get so many questions on DNA ethnicity, we’ve created a detailed list of FAQs and a free downloadable guide. They’re yours for the enjoying!

Read Ethnicity FAQs – Get Free Guide

Get More DNA Inspiration

Our free monthly newsletter delivers more great articles right to you.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Send this to a friend