Who Am I: Reference Populations Overview

Modern day indigenous populations around the world carry particular blends of nine regional affiliations. We compared your DNA results to the averages from each of 43 reference populations we currently have in our database and estimated which of these populations were most similar to you in terms of the genetic markers you carry.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN


This reference population is based on samples collected from African-Americans living in the southwestern United States. The mixture of regions reflected here is due to forced slavery from Africa to the Americas during the slave-trading era (73% sub-Saharan African, 4% Southern African). There is also a European contribution to the population (comprising the 10% Northern European, 6% Mediterranean, and 4% Southwest Asian components—a total of 20%) as well as a 2% Native American component due to mixing that occurred with Native American tribes after the Africans arrived in the Americas.

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ALTAIAN (SIBERIAN)


This reference population is based on samples collected from a native Siberian population living in the Altai region, a mountainous area located in south-central Siberia on the borders of present-day Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, and Russia. In addition to the 53% Northeast Asian component typical of Siberian and Mongolian populations, there is also a western Eurasian contribution of 22% Southwest Asian, 17% Northern European, and 2% Mediterranean, which shows the connection to steppe nomads of western Eurasian origin, as well as migrations from the Middle East with the spread of agriculture over the past 10,000 years, and recent migration from Russian populations. The 4% Native American component reflects the fact that the ancestors of today’s Native Americans likely originated in this region.

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AMERINDIAN (MEXICO)


This reference population is based on samples collected from regions in central Mexico. These are the descendants of the original settlers of the Americas over 15,000 years ago, accounting for the 83% Native American percentage. The 5% Northern European, 4% Mediterranean, 3% Southwest Asian come from recent migrations to the Americas by Europeans over the past 500 years. The 4% Northeast Asian component is reflective of the origins of the Native Americans in northeastern Asia over 20,000 years ago.

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BERMUDIAN


This reference population is based on samples collected from mixed populations living in Bermuda. The percentages shown here reflect Bermuda’s vast racial diversity, including West Africans brought during the slave trading era (48% sub-Saharan African, 3% Southern African) and European colonists (20% Northern European, 15% Mediterranean, 7% Southwest Asian). The northern European, Mediterranean, and southwest Asian percentages are reflective of ancient migration patterns in Europe over the last 40,000 years. Some Native Americans were sent as slaves to Bermuda in the 17th century, accounting for the 4% Native American ancestry. Bermuda had no indigenous inhabitants when Europeans arrived in the 16th century.

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BOUGAINVILLE-NASIOI (OCEANIA)

This reference population is based on samples collected from the Melanesian island of Bougainville, to the east of Papua New Guinea. In addition to the 88% Oceanian that defines this population and others in the region, the 12% Southeast Asian component was introduced over the past several thousand years by the seafaring Austronesians, who hailed from southeast Asia. These were the ancestors of the Polynesians, who settled in Bougainville before heading out into the open waters of the Pacific.

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BRITISH (UNITED KINGDOM)

This reference population is based on samples collected from populations in the United Kingdom. The dominant 50% northern European component likely reflects the earliest settlers in Europe, hunter-gatherers who arrived there more than 35,000 years ago. The 33% Mediterranean and 17% Southwest Asian percentages arrived later, with the spread of agriculture from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, over the past 10,000 years. As these early farmers moved into Europe, they spread their genetic patterns as well. Today, northern European populations retain their links to both the earliest Europeans and these later migrants from the Middle East.

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BULGARIAN

This reference population is based on samples collected from people living in Bulgaria. The 47% Mediterranean and 20% southwest Asian percentages reflect the strong influence of agriculturalists from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, who arrived here more than 7,000 years ago. The 31% Northern European component likely comes from the pre-agricultural population of Europe—the earliest settlers, who arrived more than 35,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic period. The 2% Northeast Asian shows that there has been some mixing with groups to the east, and is typical of eastern European populations such as Russians and North Caucasians.

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CHINESE


This reference population is based on samples collected from the population of Beijing, China. The 72% Northeast Asian and 28% Southeast Asian percentages are representative of migrations in East Asia, with the northeast Asian component likely coming from the earliest settlers in eastern Siberia and northern China, and the southeast Asian component reflecting mixing with groups that originated further south.

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DANISH

This reference population is based on samples collected from people living in Denmark. The dominant 53% Northern European component likely reflects the earliest settlers in Europe, hunter-gatherers who arrived there more than 35,000 years ago. The 30% Mediterranean and 16% Southwest Asian percentages arrived later, with the spread of agriculture from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East over the past 10,000 years. As these early farmers moved into Europe, they spread their genetic patterns as well. Today, northern European populations retain the links to both earliest Europeans and these later migrants from the Middle East.

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EASTERN INDIAN


This reference population is based on samples collected from multiple populations living in eastern India. The 50% Southeast Asian component reflects mixing between populations from this region and those living in India, perhaps with the spread of rice agriculture or the Austroasiatic languages, such as Munda, and is found at highest frequency in eastern India. The 43% Southwest Asian component represents the first migration from Africa through southwest Asia to the Indian subcontinent. It is likely the oldest component in Indian populations today. The 2% Mediterranean component probably arrived with the spread of agriculture into India from the Fertile Crescent within the past 10,000 years. The 2% Oceanian and 2% Northern European percentages represent more recent interaction with people of European and Oceanian origin.
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EGYPTIAN

This reference population is based on samples collected from native Egyptians. As ancient populations migrated from Africa, they passed first through southwest Asia. The 65% Mediterranean and 18% Southwest Asian components in Egypt are representative of that ancient migratory route, as well as later migrations from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East with the spread of agriculture over the past 10,000 years, and migrations in the 7th century with the spread of Islam from the Arabian peninsula. The 14% sub-Saharan African indicates intermixing with African populations to the south.

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FINNISH

This reference population is based on samples collected from people native to Finland. The dominant 57% northern European component likely reflects the earliest settlers in Europe, hunter-gatherers who arrived there more than 35,000 years ago. The 17% Mediterranean and 17% Southwest Asian percentages arrived later, with the spread of agriculture from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, over the past 10,000 years. As these early farmers moved into Europe, they spread their genetic patterns as well. Today, northern European populations retain the links to both earliest Europeans and these later migrants from the Middle East. The 7% Northeast Asian component reflects mixing with native Siberian populations, particularly the reindeer-herding Saami people of far northern Scandinavia.

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GEORGIAN

This reference population is based on samples collected from people living in the Republic of Georgia, in the Caucasus Mountains. Georgia was settled from the Middle East, largely during the Neolithic period as agriculture spread from it’s homeland in the Fertile Crescent into surrounding regions over the past 10,000 years. The 61% Mediterranean and 31% Southwest Asian components reflect this close connection to the Middle East. The 7% Northern European component likely reflects connections to ancient eastern European populations living north of the Caucasus.

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GERMAN

This reference population is based on samples collected from people native to Germany. The dominant 46% Northern European component likely reflects the earliest settlers in Europe, hunter-gatherers who arrived there more than 35,000 years ago. The 36% Mediterranean and 17% Southwest Asian percentages probably arrived later, with the spread of agriculture from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East over the past 10,000 years. As these early farmers moved into Europe, they spread their genetic patterns as well. Today, northern and central European populations retain links to both the earliest Europeans and these later migrants from the Middle East.

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GREEK

This reference population is based on samples collected from the native population of Greece. The 54% Mediterranean and 17% Southwest Asian percentages reflect the strong influence of agriculturalists from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, who arrived here more than 8,000 years ago. The 28% Northern European component likely comes from the pre-agricultural population of Europe—the earliest settlers, who arrived more than 35,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic period. Today, this component predominates in northern European populations, while the Mediterranean component is more common in southern Europe.

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HIGHLAND PERUVIAN

This reference population is based on samples collected from populations living in the Peruvian Andes. People in this region are predominantly Native American (95%) with a small amount of more recent admixture with European populations (2% Mediterranean, 2% Northern European) in the past 500 years, during the Spanish colonial era.

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IBERIAN (SPAIN & PORTUGAL)

This reference population is based on samples collected from people native to Spain and Portugal. The 48% Mediterranean and 13% Southwest Asian percentages reflect the strong influence of agriculturalists from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, who arrived here more than 8,000 years ago. The 37% Northern European component likely comes from the pre-agricultural population of Europe—the earliest settlers, who arrived more than 35,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic period. Today, this component predominates in northern European populations, while the Mediterranean component is more common in southern Europe.

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IRANIAN

This reference population is based on samples collected from native Iranians. As some ancient populations migrated from Africa, they passed first through Southwest Asia en route to the rest of Eurasia. Some populations stayed in the Middle East and southwestern Asia, over time developing unique genetic patterns. The 42% Mediterranean and 42% Southwest Asian components found in our reference Iranian population reflect these ancient patterns. The 8% Northern European percentage is representative of some interaction with European populations, either via populations to the west, or from migrations through the steppe zone to the east. The 5% Northeast Asian component likely arrived via the migrations of groups originating in that region, such as the Turks and Mongols. The Silk Road also may have served to disperse east Asian genetic patterns further to the west.

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JAPANESE

This reference population is based on samples collected from the Japanese population. The 75% Northeast Asian and 25% Southeast Asian percentages are representative of migrations in East Asia, with the northeast Asian component likely coming from the earliest settlers in eastern Siberia and northern China. The southeast Asian component reflects mixing with groups that originated further south.

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KHOISAN (SOUTHERN AFRICA)

This reference population is based on samples collected from the Khoi and San peoples of southern Africa. These are perhaps the oldest populations in Africa, and they have a unique genetic pattern that sets them apart from most other African groups. This likely arose during the long period of time that these populations were genetically isolated from other African groups, perhaps due to climatic forces. Today, the Khoi and San peoples have varying degrees of admixture with Bantu-speaking groups from further north in Africa, and this is reflected in their percentages (52% Southern African and 47% sub-Saharan African). Some San—the famous “Bushmen of the Kalahari”— can be as much as 100% Southern African, however.

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KINH (VIETNAM)


This reference population is based on samples collected from the Kinh ethnic group living in Vietnam, the largest ethnic group in the country. The 57% Northeast Asian and 43% Southeast Asian percentages are representative of migrations in East Asia, with the northeast Asian component likely coming from the earliest settlers in eastern Siberia and northern China. The southeast Asian component reflects mixing with groups that originated further south.

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KUWAITI

This reference population is based on samples collected from native Kuwaitis and reflects the great genetic diversity of this region, as it was a crossroads for several migratory groups. As some ancient populations migrated from Africa, they passed first through Southwest Asia en route to the rest of Eurasia. Some populations stayed in the Middle East and southwestern Asia, over time developing unique genetic patterns. The 57% Mediterranean and 27% Southwest Asian components found in our reference Kuwaiti population reflect these ancient patterns. The 4% Northern European percentage is representative of some interaction with European populations, either via populations to the northwest or from migrations through the steppe zone to the northeast. The 2% Northeast Asian component likely arrived via the migrations of groups originating in that region, such as the Turks and Mongols. The Silk Road also may have served to disperse east Asian genetic patterns further to the west. Finally, the 8% sub-Saharan African component reflects the relatively close proximity of Kuwait to Africa, and may have been increased by the Arab slave trade during the 8th-19th centuries.

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LEBANESE

This reference population is based on samples collected from the native population of Lebanon. As some ancient populations migrated from Africa, they passed first through Southwest Asia en route to the rest of Eurasia. Some populations stayed in the Middle East and southwestern Asia, over time developing unique genetic patterns. The 66% Mediterranean and 26% Southwest Asian components found in our reference Lebanese population reflect these ancient patterns. The Silk Road also may have served to disperse east Asian genetic patterns further to the west. Finally, the 2% sub-Saharan African component reflects the relatively close proximity of Lebanon to Africa, and may have been increased by the Arab slave trade during the 8th-19th centuries.

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LUHYA (KENYA)

This reference population is based on samples collected from the Luhya people of Kenya and primarily reflects influences from various African regions (89% sub-Saharan African and 8% Southern African), with a small amount of possible mixing with Mediterranean populations (2% Mediterranean). The large sub-Saharan component is due at least in part to the massive migrations of the Bantu-speaking peoples (the Luhya speak a Bantu language) from their homeland in west-central Africa—near present-day Cameroon—throughout Africa over the past 3,500 years.

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MALAGASY (MADAGASCAR)


This reference population is based on samples collected from the native population of Madagascar and reflects the broad regional diversity found there. Madagascar was populated by a combination of migratory groups crossing the Mozambique Channel from the African continent (57% sub-Saharan African and 4% Southern African) and arriving by boat from Austronesia (20% Southeast Asian, 15% Northeast Asian). The 2% Mediterranean shown here is likely due to recent European admixture over the past several hundred years.

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MEXICAN-AMERICAN


This reference population is based on samples collected from Mexican-Americans living in Los Angeles, California, and is reflective of the broad range of genetic diversity that many ethnic populations in present-day North America carry. The mixture of regions reflected here is due to original groups that populated the Americas (36% Native American and 2% Southeast Asian) with more recent influence from integration with European Americans (28% Mediterranean, 20% Northern European, 8% Southwest Asian) and African Americans (4% sub-Saharan African). The Mediterranean, northern European, and southwest Asian components are reflective of the ancient genetic patterns in Europe.

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MONGOLIAN


This reference population is based on samples collected from the native populations of Mongolia. In addition to the 67% Northeast Asian component typical of Siberian and Mongolian populations, there is also a western Eurasian contribution of 12% Southwest Asian, and 6% Northern European, which shows the connection to steppe nomads of western Eurasian origin, as well as migrations from the Middle East with the spread of agriculture over the past 10,000 years, along with some recent migration from Russian populations. The 9% Southeast Asian component is likely a result of admixture with groups further to the south, such as the Chinese. The 4% Native American component reflects the fact that the ancestors of today’s Native Americans probably originated in this region.

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NI-VANUATU (VANUATU)


This reference population is based on samples collected from people native to the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. In addition to the 78% Oceanian that defines this population and others in the Melanesian region, the 15% Southeast Asian and 4% Northeast Asian components were introduced over the past several thousand years by the seafaring Austronesians, who hailed from southeast Asia. These were the ancestors of the Polynesians, who settled in Vanuatu before heading out into the open waters of the Pacific.

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NORTHERN CAUCASIAN

This reference population is based on samples collected from the populations native to the North Caucasus, including Daghestanis and Abkhazians. The North Caucasus appears to have been settled from the Middle East, largely during the Neolithic period as agriculture spread from its homeland in the Fertile Crescent into surrounding regions over the past 10,000 years. The 46% Mediterranean and 33% Southwest Asian components reflect this close connection to the Middle East. The 16% Northern European component likely reflects connections to ancient eastern European populations living north of the Caucasus, including Russia. The 4% northeast Asian component reflects some degree of mixing with groups from that region, perhaps via the Tatars and other steppe nomads.

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NORTHERN INDIAN


This reference population is based on samples collected from populations living in northern India. The 34% Southwest Asian component represents the first migration from Africa through Southwest Asia to the Indian subcontinent—it is likely the oldest component in Indian populations today. The 27% Southeast Asian component reflects mixing between populations from this region and those living in India, perhaps with the spread of rice agriculture or the Austroasiatic languages such as Munda, and is found at highest frequency in eastern India. The 6% Mediterranean component probably arrived with the spread of agriculture into India from the Fertile Crescent within the past 10,000 years. The 5% Northern European percentage represents more recent interaction with people of ultimately European origin, perhaps via the ancient Indo-Iranian-speaking steppe nomads of Central Asia, who are thought to have migrated into India around 3,500 years ago.

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PAMIRI (TAJIKISTAN)

This reference population is based on samples collected from people native to the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan in southern Central Asia. As ancient populations migrated from Africa, they passed through Southwest Asia en route to India and Central Asia. This is the likely source of the 44% Southwest Asian in the Pamiri population, and links them to populations further south in the Indian subcontinent. The 22% Mediterranean component probably arrived with the spread of agriculture into Central Asia from the Fertile Crescent within the past 10,000 years. The 22% Northern European percentage represents more recent interaction with people of ultimately European origin, perhaps via the ancient Indo-Iranian-speaking steppe nomads of Central Asia, who are thought to have migrated into India around 3,500 years ago. Finally, the 10% Northeast Asian component was likely brought by the Turkic and Mongolian-speaking nomads from northeastern Asia who conquered this region in the past 2,000 years.

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PAPUAN (PAPUA NEW GUINEA)


This reference population is based on samples collected from people native to the highlands and lowlands of Papua New Guinea. In addition to the 91% Oceanian that defines this population and others in the Melanesian region, the 4% Southeast Asian and 5% Northeast Asian components were introduced over the past several thousand years by the seafaring Austronesians, who hailed from southeast Asia. These were the ancestors of the Polynesians, who settled on the northern coast of New Guinea before heading out into the open waters of the Pacific.

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PERUVIANS FROM LIMA

This reference population is based on samples collected from Peruvians living in the capital, Lima. People in this region are predominantly Native American (68%) with a significant amount of more recent admixture with European populations in the past 500 years during the Spanish colonial era (comprising the 15% Mediterranean, 10% Northern European, and 3% Southwest Asian components, which reflect ancient migrations in Europe over the past 40,000 years). There is also a small amount of sub-Saharan African (2%) due to the significant African slave trade in the 16th-19th centuries.

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PUERTO RICAN

This reference population is based on samples collected from people living in Puerto Rico and reflects the wide ethnic diversity found there, both recent and ancient. Puerto Rico was originally populated by the Taino peoples (who originated in South America), accounting for the 11% Native American component. Christopher Columbus claimed the island for Spain, and the Spanish influence accounts for the 31% Mediterranean, 21% Northern European, and 9% Southwest Asian (these components reflect ancient migrations in Europe over the past 40,000 years). The 25% sub-Saharan African component is due to the African slave trade of the 16th-19th centuries, which had a significant impact on the local genetic patterns.

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ROMANIAN

This reference population is based on samples collected from people native to Romania. The 43% Mediterranean and 19% Southwest Asian percentages reflect the strong influence of agriculturalists from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, who arrived here more than 7,000 years ago. The 36% Northern European component likely comes from the pre-agricultural population of Europe—the earliest settlers, who arrived more than 35,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic period. The 2% Northeast Asian component shows that there has been some mixing with groups to the east, and is typical of eastern European populations such as Romanians, Russians, and North Caucasians.

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RUSSIANS

This reference population is based on samples collected from Russians living in Russia. The dominant 51% Northern European component likely reflects the earliest settlers in Europe, hunter-gatherers who arrived there more than 35,000 years ago. The 25% Mediterranean and 18% Southwest Asian percentages arrived later, with the spread of agriculture from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East over the past 10,000 years. As these early farmers moved into Europe, they spread their genetic patterns as well. Today, northern European populations retain the links to both the earliest Europeans and these later migrants from the Middle East. The 4% Northeast Asian component reflects mixing with native Siberian populations, including the reindeer-herding Saami people of far northern Russia and Scandinavia.

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SARDINIAN

This reference population is based on samples collected from people native to Sardinia. The 67% Mediterranean and 8% Southwest Asian percentages reflect the strong influence of agriculturalists from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, who arrived in Sardinia more than 7,000 years ago. The 24% Northern European component likely comes from the pre-agricultural population of Europe—the earliest settlers, who arrived in Europe more than 35,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic period—and was carried along with the Mediterranean and southwest Asian components by the first agricultural settlers of Sardinia. Today, the northern European component predominates in northern European populations, while the Mediterranean component is more common in southern Europe.

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SOUTHERN INDIAN


This reference population is based on samples collected from populations native to southern India. The 58% Southwest Asian component represents the first migration from Africa through Southwest Asia to the Indian subcontinent. It is likely the oldest component in Indian populations today. The 35% Southeast Asian component reflects mixing between populations from this region and those living in India, perhaps with the spread rice agriculture or the Austroasiatic languages, such as Munda, and is found at highest frequency in eastern India. The 4% Mediterranean component probably arrived with the spread of agriculture into India from the Fertile Crescent within the past 10,000 years. Southern Indian populations have only a 2% Northern European component, while northern Indian populations have on average around 5%, consistent with an arrival from the steppes to the north of India.

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TATAR (RUSSIA)

This reference population is based on samples collected from the Tatar people of Russia, a Turkic-speaking group that originated in the region of present-day Mongolia and settled on the Volga River in the 7th century. Their genetic results reflect their origin, with 16% Northeast Asian a major component. However, there has been substantial mixing with western Eurasian populations (including Russians) over the years, resulting in the 40% Northern European, 21% Southwest Asian, and 21% Mediterranean components more typical in Europe.

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TUNISIAN


This reference population is based on samples collected from people native to Tunisia, in North Africa. Tunisia’s location on the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa contributes to its broad genetic diversity. Predominantly Mediterranean (62%), there is also clearly European and African influence (6% Northern European and 19% sub-Saharan African). The 10% Southwest Asian component likely arrived in two waves, one with the arrival of agriculture from the Middle East beginning around 8,000 years ago, and also with the Islamic conquest of the 7th century. The source of the 2% Southeast Asian component is a mystery.

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TUSCAN (ITALY)

This reference population is based on samples collected from Italians native to Tuscany. The 54% Mediterranean and 17% Southwest Asian percentages reflect the strong influence of agriculturalists from the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East, who arrived in Italy more than 7,000 years ago. The 28% Northern European component likely comes from the pre-agricultural population of Europe—the earliest settlers, who arrived in Europe more than 35,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic period—and was perhaps increased during the conquest of northern Italy by the Germanic Lombards in the 6th-8th centuries. Today, the northern European component predominates in northern European populations, while the Mediterranean component is more common in southern Europe.

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WESTERN INDIAN


This reference population is based on samples collected from populations native to western India. The 58% Southwest Asian component represents the first migration from Africa through Southwest Asia to the Indian subcontinent. It is likely the oldest component in Indian populations today. The 26% Southeast Asian component reflects mixing between populations from this region and those living in India, perhaps with the spread of rice agriculture or the Austroasiatic languages, such as Munda, and is found at highest frequency in eastern India. The 9% Mediterranean component probably arrived with the spread of agriculture into India from the Fertile Crescent within the past 10,000 years. The 6% Northern European percentage represents more recent interaction with people of ultimately European origin, perhaps via the ancient Indo-Iranian-speaking steppe nomads of central Asia, who are thought to have migrated into India around 3,500 years ago.

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YORUBAN (WEST AFRICAN)

This reference population is based on samples collected from the Yoruba population of Nigeria, and primarily reflects influences from various African regions (97% sub-Saharan African and 3% Southern African). The large sub-Saharan component is due at least in part to the massive migrations of the Bantu-speaking peoples (the Yoruba speak a Bantu language) from their homeland in west-central Africa—near present-day Cameroon—throughout Africa over the past 3,500 years, carrying their genetic patterns along with them.