This component of your ancestry originates in the plains that extend from the Danube River and the Black Sea north to the Baltic Sea and east to the Volga River and the Ural Mountains of Russia. Your ancestors who lived in this region thousands of years ago were likely hunters and gatherers who gradually adopted agriculture from their neighbors to the south and west. Some scientists believe that it was in this region of the world where horses were first domesticated.
Today, this part of the world is associated with Slavic and Baltic cultures, as well as Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Czech, Slovak, and German peoples.
This component of your ancestry originates along the northern Mediterranean coast. For millennia this part of the world was a hub for the movement of trading goods as well as ideas, and thus much of modern Western culture and thought can trace its origins to here. Your ancestors may have been some of the first farmers to migrate to Europe from the Middle East thousands of years ago. Historically, this region was the home to the vast Roman Empire, which brought with it great infrastructure, cities, and cultural development, but consequently led to homogenization of its peoples.
Today, this ancestral component is most common in people of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Greek descent, among other Mediterranean groups. This component is also found in people of French and British ancestry, as well as people from northern Africa. It is also a large component for people of Hispanic-American ancestry.
Great Britain and Ireland:
This component of your ancestry is associated with the western European islands of Great Britain and Ireland, but traces can also be found along the northern and western coasts of continental Europe. As modern humans first entered Europe, this part of the world was uninhabitable and covered in ice sheets. As the ice sheets retreated, settlers moved to the islands. The earliest settlers likely survived on fishing, but farming eventually reached the islands in the past several thousand years. Stone monuments (e.g., Stonehenge) are associated with some of the islands’ earliest cultures. Historically, these islands were populated by Celts and later marked the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire, thus genetic connections still exist between these regions. Yet it was Britain’s global empire during the 18th and 19th centuries that helped spread this component, as well as the English language, throughout the world.
Today, this ancestral component is seen in people of British and Irish descent, including those throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and most other former British colonies.
Western and Central Europe:
This component of your ancestry is associated with a prehistoric European population that arose from a hybrid of different migrant groups. The region extends from northern Spain east through France, the lowlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Prehistorically, this region of Europe was home to Neanderthals, and it was possibly here where your modern human ancestors mixed with your Neanderthal ancestors as the two related species met 40,000 years ago. Historically, this region saw continuous human migration from the north, west, south, and east, which is evident from the dozens of distinct mitochondrial DNA lineages that exist there today.
This genetic component of your ancestry is seen in most people of European ancestry, but it’s highest among those with Spanish, French, Dutch, Swiss, Austrian, German, and northern Italian ancestry.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the Nordic regions of Europe. This part of Europe was the last to be settled since it was covered in glaciers for thousands of years longer than the lands to the south. As the name states, this region is associated with the peninsula of Scandinavia and its adjacent regions of Iceland and Denmark. Your prehistoric Scandinavian ancestors most likely survived from hunting, gathering, and fishing, and it wasn’t until a few thousand years ago that farming first reached the area. Historically, Scandinavia was the home of Vikings, who were known to voyage south and west and interacting, both peacefully and violently, with their neighbors in Great Britain and central Europe.
This genetic component of your ancestry is seen in people of Norwegian, Icelandic, Swedish, and Danish ancestry, although it also occurs in people from Britain and continental Europe.
Finland and Northern Siberia:
This component of your ancestry is associated with the polar regions of Eurasia, stretching from Finland to eastern Siberia in Russia. Similar to other northern regions, this region of Eurasia was settled late and primarily by hunter-gatherers who could survive on the edges of the receding icesheets, and did not take on agriculture until very recently. Although this area may appear distant on a map, members of this population eventually expanded as far east as Alaska, Canada, and North America, and their genetic legacy is still seen in Inuit populations as far east as Canada and Greenland, but also Sami populations as far west as Finland and Sweden. Your ancestors were true circumpolar settlers.
Today, this genetic component of your ancestry is seen in Finnish, Russian, Alaska, and Canadian populations, and in low frequencies among some Native American groups farther south.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the regions north of Africa’s Sahara desert that make up the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. For millennia the Mediterranean Sea was one of the most traveled parts of the world, and consequently North Africa saw the constant movement and mixing of peoples and cultures. Prehistorically, the earliest people to settle northern Africa came from the south, the more fertile birthplace of humanity. For thousands of years this region saw the rise and fall of cultures and empires, including the Carthaginians, the Romans, and eventually the spread of Islam originating farther east. Despite the constant movement of peoples across the Mediterranean, North Africa maintained a biological connection to groups farther south, which is evident in the remnants of old lineages associated with West and central Africa.
Today, this ancestral component is seen in people of Moroccan, Tunisian, Algerian, Libyan, and Egyptian ancestry. It can also be found in varying degrees in the Middle East, as well as Portugal, Spain, and Malta.
Western and Central Africa:
This component of your ancestry is associated with the region that extends from Senegal in West Africa south and east through Nigeria to Congo and Angola. It covers more than half of sub-Saharan Africa, more specifically the regions that border the Atlantic Ocean. Prehistorically, this part of the world is one of the first reached by modern humans some 100,000 years ago, after our species first arose just to the south and east. Historically, West and central Africa saw the rise and fall of many empires and cultures, some associated with the trade of ivory and exotic animals, and in the past several centuries, those associated with the transatlantic slave trade. From the 16th through the 19th centuries, tens of millions of people were captured and forcibly removed from this region and made to work as slaves. This led to arguably the largest exodus in human history. Through forced mass migration, this component of genetic ancestry was spread throughout the world, most heavily throughout the Americas.
Today, this ancestral component is seen in people of West African ancestry, including Senegalese, Ghanaians, and Nigerians; and people of central African ancestry like the Congolese, Cameroonians, and Angolans. This component is also seen throughout the Americas and is highest among people of African-American, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Brazilian ancestry.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the southern regions of Africa south of the Zambezi River, in and around the Kalahari Desert. It likely represents some of the oldest human lineages and those that split earliest in the human population in Africa some 150,000 years ago. These early southern Africans were once more widespread, accounting for the low frequency of this component in other African groups to the west, central, and eastern parts of the continent.
Today, this component is found at highest frequency in the Khoisan people of southern Africa—the famous Bushmen of the Kalahari. It is also seen among others groups from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the border regions that separate southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia around the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas. This part of the world saw some of the earliest migrations and crossings after modern humans left Africa some 60,000 years ago.
Today, this component is found at highest frequency in people from Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and the Caucasus countries. Given that it rests in the historic and prehistoric crossroads of Europe and Asia, this component also occurs in varying frequency in other neighboring populations throughout the region.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the region around the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and Caspian Sea. This region was the first stepping-stone in modern humans’ migrations out of Africa. Prehistorically, the Arabian Peninsula (Middle East) is considered to be the earliest site of plant domestication and is also home to some of the oldest known buildings, and likewise the oldest known evidence of writing, and possibly even the earliest civilizations. Historically, the region saw continuous movement of groups for tens of millennia. One of the largest was the growth of Islam, centered in modern-day Saudi Arabia.
Today, this ancestral component occurs at highest frequency in people from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq. Because of its importance geographically and culturally, this component is also seen in North and East Africa, parts of Europe, and to the east in Iran and Afghanistan.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the birthplace of modern humans, as well as the departure point for humankind’s first migration out of Africa. The region includes the area south of the Sahara desert, east of the Congo rain forests and Africa’s Great Rift Valley and west of the Indian Ocean. Some of the most important human ancestor fossils were discovered here, including the infamous Lucy, the Australopithecus afarensis, as well as some of the oldest anatomically modern human fossils dating back some 200,000 years. East Africa is home of some of the most ancient mitochondrial DNA lineages, suggesting that it is here where it all began. Historically, this region saw an influx of Bantu speakers and the eventual conversion to pastoralists, a population well adapted to the wide-open savannas.
Today, the ancestral component occurs at highest frequency in people from Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, and Tanzania.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the region south of the Himalaya mountain range and north of the Indian Ocean, and around and in between the Indus and Ganges Rivers. Like the Middle East, South Asia is one of the oldest regions of Eurasia, and an area continuously transited –both eastward and westward—for tens of millennia. Prehistorically, South Asia is home to some unique branches of the human family tree, including both ancient and recent ones, and it is the possible center of domestication of the common chicken.
Today, South Asia is one of the most heavily populated regions of the world. This region includes the modern-day countries of Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. This regional component also occurs in people from Afghanistan to the west, Myanmar to the east, and western China to the north. Likewise, it is quite common in people of South Asian ancestry, now living throughout the world.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the region east of the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea, northeast of the Himalayan highlands, and west of Tibet. This part of the world saw the movement of cold-adapted migrants for tens of thousands of years. Its predominantly flat terrain allowed for faster migration east and west and thus became the major thoroughfare for the historic Silk Road.
Today, Central Asia is home to dozens of ethnic groups, many of which were associated with the break-up of the Soviet Union several decades ago. It includes the countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, and the Chinese region of Tibet.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the easternmost regions of the Eurasian continent. This part of the world is home to some of the oldest civilizations outside Africa and the Middle East, and it is here where rice was first domesticated and cultivated. Historically, this part of the world has seen rapid population decline as well as growth and therefore genetic change at the hands of ancient emperors and conquerors such as Genghis Khan.
Today, East Asia remains one of the most densely populated areas of the world and is home to hundreds of distinct genetic lineages. The region includes the countries of Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and most of China and Taiwan. People in neighboring countries, such as Mongolia, Russia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Thailand, also carry this component of ancestry.
Southeast Asia and Oceania:
This component of your ancestry is associated with a vast area of the world that includes continental Southeast Asia, island Southeast Asia, and all of Oceania. Prehistorically, this part of the world was home to ancestral species such as Homo erectus and our recently discovered “hobbit” cousin Homo florensis. Additionally, this part of the world was one of the earliest stops for humans migrating from Africa, as there is evidence of human occupation that goes back 50,000 years in far southern and eastern reaches of Australia. Likewise, this region also includes the recently settled islands of Hawaii and New Zealand, the latter of which was discovered by Polynesian sailors less than 1,000 years ago.
Today, this ancestral component includes the continental areas of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. Additionally, it includes the Indonesian and Philippine archipelagoes, the continental islands of New Guinea and Australia, and the thousands of islands that are part of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the indigenous populations of North, Central, and South America. It encompasses what is often referred to as the Western Hemisphere. Prehistorically, this part of the world saw human migrants in just the past 20,000 years. Yet, once humans reached the Americas through the Bering land bridge, they colonized the continents in just a few thousand years. Prehistorically, this part of the world was the birthplace of both corn and potatoes, and was home to the Aztec, Maya, and Inca Empires encountered by Europeans just 500 years ago. Historically, this component decreased in frequency throughout North America, as indigenous groups were pushed aside and killed by colonists. This component, however, remains high in groups with ancestral ties to Central and South America.
Today, this ancestral component is commonly seen in Native American groups from Canada and the United States, and is also quite common in Hispanic-American populations. South of the U.S.A., it increases in frequency and is often the largest ancestral component in Mexicans, Central Americans, and many groups throughout South America.
This component of your ancestry is associated with the exodus of the Jewish group from the Middle East to various regions of Europe.