Who do I think I am?

Just after the new year me and Cerri took our DNA samples by scraping the inside of our cheeks with little cotton buds. We put them into their special containers and posted them off to the National Geographic Geno 2.0 project in the USA. We were prepared for the 8 week wait whilst the results were explored in their laboratories, but last night we both got our results through. I have to say when I got the email from NG I was so excited!

Well, here are my results.

Maternal Line Journey – this follows all of the females on mother’s line.

It seems incredible that everyone alive today can trace their ancestry to one woman who lived 180,000 years ago. My maternal line left Africa some 70,000 years ago. From there they went through Turkey and to India and the eastern Mediterranean. It is at this stage that my ancestors co-existed with the Neanderthals. From there they travelled into Europe for the first time populating the Slovakian regions.

The next bit it really interesting.

Around 25,000 years ago a tiny amount of my maternal ancestors were the people who would eventually become the Ashkenazi Jews, settling around Slovakia and Ukraine. Over 5,000 years ago my ancestors arrived in western Europe, bringing that gene with them. A gene marker that I still share with people from the Slovak and Middle Eastern regions to this day. It also explains ‘the Stannett nose’ I inherited from my mother’s side!


Paternal Line Journey – this follows all of the males on my father’s line.

The common ancestor of all men alive today lived around 140,000 years ago in Africa. My male ancestors left Africa around 75,000 years ago and took a much more direct route into Europe, although some also travelled to India – they were one of the first peoples to leave Africa. In fact they were already in Europe way before farming arrived from the East. They were the original hunter-gatherers in Europe arriving here some 20,000 years ago! Between 5,000 and 25,000 years ago my ancestors arrived in both Britain, and Scandinavia. I share this marker with 40% of the population of Norway.


Who am I?

This part of the results show the DNA I share with both my mother and father’s lines, plus the influences of my deeper ancient ancestry. Here is what the website says:

This information is determined from your entire genome so we’re able to see both parents’ information, going back six generations. Your percentages reflect both recent influences and ancient genetic patterns in your DNA due to migrations as groups from different regions mixed over thousands of years. Your ancestors also mixed with ancient, now extinct hominid cousins like Neanderthals in Europe and the Middle East or the Denisovans in Asia.

So I am –

47% Northern European

35% Mediterranean

18% South West Asian

The two populations in the world that match this percentage most closely are (drum roll please)……

Great Britain and Denmark





An amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone. However, come on, look at me. Long blond hair, blue eyes, 6 foot plus. No real surprise that I am a Briton with a large dose of Jute/Viking. Nonetheless, I now know this, for sure, and that has given me even more to think about, and even more questions!

Oh, and that co-existence between my ancient ancestors and the Neanderthals? Well, it had results. They got it on. I’m 2.6% Neanderthal. The average is 2%.

16 responses to “Who do I think I am?”

  1. I would love to have gotten tested for that. I think we all resonate with our ancestral past in the way we feel about things.

  2. Wow, that is highly detailed & very interesting. I know that they can plot female ancestry through mitochondrial DNA, for it is contributed exclusively from mothers & mutates very predictably, but I have no idea how they plot paternal DNA. Truly a fascinating topic though, thank you for sharing such personal information for your readers scientific curiosity 🙂

  3. That is super interesting and you have already made me send off for my own kit! I’m British but I live in Denmark, where everyone says I ‘look like a Dane’. It will be interesting to find out whether I am, in fact more Danish than my wife who actually *is* Danish.

    BTW you have a big fan here in Denmark in the form of my youngest daughter, Sofia (she’s 7). She asked the teachers to turn off Justin Bieber at the pre-school disco the other week and ‘put some Dahm the Bard’ on. Alas, they didn’t have any …

  4. I do genealogy and with most lines you can’t get that far back.However one line did. It went back to Israel through the old Druids. Really interesting! One of these though it might be interesting to do.

  5. Apparantly the Italians show the greatest percenage of Neanderthal DNA, so perhaps that’s where the Medierranean side comes in.

  6. Definitely Viking! Ha Ha! Great news, I’ve been toying with idea of getting a DNA trace but my brother won’t get tested for the paternal line due to big brother paranoia but if they can pick it up through the female line then that would solve the problem. 🙂 /l\

    • Unless there have been further advances; the maternal line inheritance is traced via the mtDNA which is found only in tiny structures (mitochondria*) which are passed through the generations in the cytoplasm (not the nuclei) of the eggs. Everyone “inherits” egg cytoplasm, and hence mtDNA, from their mother; she from her mother etc. There is no input from the paternal line into this mtDNA (we don’t get any cytoplasm from our father’s sperm) but, as males as well as females get their mother’s mtDNA, it’s possible to track the maternal line inheritance of both males and females.

      The paternal line is investigated via the DNA of the Y-chromosome which is passed on from the father, in the nucleus of the sperm, to the son. Females don’t have Y-chromosomes (they’re XX) so I can’t see any way of tracing your paternal line inheritance there if you’re a woman.

      Perhaps one day I’ll save up for these tests – I’d be fascinated to find out the results. The most important things about the results though seems to be; if you go back far enough we’re all descended from the same ancestral parents. Although we’ve taken different paths to get here we’re still more alike than we are dissimilar.

      (*P.S. Most biologists believe those mitochondria evolved from symbiotic bacteria that now “live” inside all our cells. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endosymbiotic_theory) So even our individual cells are not discrete, independent units but are little ecosystems composed of separate but co-operating entities. Even at cellular level we rely on co-operating ecosytems – talk about microcosm and macrocosm!!)

  7. Had my mitochondrial DNA done some years ago. My ‘mother’ came from the Pyrennes, the line starting about 20,000 years ago. I would like to find my paternal line though. Is there inspiration for new songs here?

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