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Ethnicity calculator?


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#1 Don Newcomb

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 10:27 PM

Here's a thought I just had. How could one implement an ethnicity calculator. In other words, you'd create a ethnicity for each of your ancestors and it would calculate the percentage of each ethnicity for any given descendant. The major purpose would be to compare with Autosomal DNA reports. The calculator would have to be flexible enough to accommodate just about any ethnic descriptor: Albanian, Hmong, Swabian, Unknown, etc. 



#2 TomH

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 10:38 AM

How would that work? 50% of the father's ethnicity + 50% of the mother's = child's ethnicity?

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#3 zhangrau

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 01:40 PM

How would that work? 50% of the father's ethnicity + 50% of the mother's = child's ethnicity?

 

Although that's not exactly how genes get mixed over multiple generations, it is the only feasible way to do an ethnicity calculation. Considering the randomizing effects of multiple connections (for example,the RM Relationships Calculator shows one of my brothers is related to his wife through 49 paths - 9th thru 12th-3x removed cousins) I suspect that any attempted calculation of his grandchildren's ethnicity would be pretty complex. Why do I say that? Because each parent contributes 50% of their genes - but WHICH 50% ? - to their offspring. Perhaps a geneticist with a math degree would be needed to figure this out...  :wub:



#4 Don Newcomb

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 03:57 PM

How would that work? 50% of the father's ethnicity + 50% of the mother's = child's ethnicity?

 

I'd assume that you'd have a way to enter an ancestor's ethnicity. My maternal grandfather would be 100% Swabian. My maternal grandmother would be 100% Swedish.  My paternal side is a mixture of English, Irish, Scotch and "not sure". I'd guess that as you assigned ethnic mixes to ancestors, the calculator would traverse the tree (probably only following birth paths, not adopted) until it either hit an assigned ethnicity or ran out of tree. At each branch it would divide by 2, summing the values as it goes, when it hit the end of a branch without finding an assigned ethnicity, it would assume "unknown" and move on to the next branch. 

 

The whole purpose would be to be able to easily compare what you know about your ancestors with what shows up on a DNA Admixture test. If the calculator says, 50% Scandinavian, 25% British Isles and 25% Iberian Peninsula and your DNA Admixture test adds 5% Native American, you'd know you have some work to do. (I know that's a trivial example.)