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Which Gedmatch Admixture to Use

Do you want to know which Gedmatch Admixture to use? In this post, you will learn how to choose which admixture calculator will work best for your unique ancestry, as well as how to choose the calculator model.

I highly recommend taking advantage of the Gedmatch Admixture tool in order to learn how to use Gedmatch for ethnicity. It’s a great way to get completely free “second opinions” about your ethnicity or ancestry estimate.

Plus, it’s just lots of fun!

Which Gedmatch Admixture to Use

Can you use Gedmatch for Ethnicity?

Yes, you can use Gedmatch to learn about the ethnicity of your ancestors and which part of the world they likely called home. The main tool for learning about ethnicity on Gedmatch are the Admixture (heritage) calculators.

Most people have a general idea of where a majority of their ancestors lived. For example, I knew that my mother’s family was generally Polish, Slovak and German.

Many people are interested in discovering their ethnicity because they would like to learn about the ancestors that they don’t already know about. The Gedmatch ethnicity tools are great for this, because your results will include very small percentages matching regions that you might be surprised to see.

This tool was very useful for helping me in researching my mother’s Southeastern Bantu DNA, which is likely due to her ancestors who were in the US during the colonial period and were previously unknown to me. Without autosomal DNA testing and the tools on Gedmatch, I would not have been able to discover this information.

What is Gedmatch Admixture?

For those who are reading this article and haven’t heard of Gedmatch Admixture calculators, you might wonder what this is all about.

There are several researchers who have made “calculators” based on their own collection of DNA data gathered from research projects. We are able to run our DNA on Gedmatch through these calculators to get different ethnicity estimates.

In order to use the calculators, we must first upload our DNA to Gedmatch. Once we finish with the process of uploading, we can access the Gedmatch Admixture calculators on the DNA Application tool list.

Below, you can see exactly where to click to access the Gedmatch Admixture calculators:

The red arrow points to the Admixture tool on the list of free DNA tools on Gedmatch

After you click on the tool link from the main dashboard, you will be taken to a page where you have to select the admixture project you would like to use to analyze your DNA. There are several different projects, many with different calculators within the project.

You can also choose how to process your results. I usually recommend to choose the default setting “Admixture Proportions (With link to Oracle)”, which will provide you with results that look visually similar to the ethnicity estimate that you received from your DNA testing company.

How to choose a Gedmatch admixture calculator

In order to choose a Gedmatch admixture calculator, there are a few basic details about each project that we should all understand. Once you know a little bit more about the background of each project, it will be easy to understand which one will best suit your needs.

This is because each project has a slightly different focus.

Click here to buy the Understand Your DNA Results Ebook

What are admixture “projects” on Gedmatch?

The very first choice you will have to make in order to use the Gedmatch admixture calculators is deciding between projects.

There are currently five projects that have calculators on Gedmatch. Below, you can find the list of projects as well as links to the project web pages and a short description of the project, when available.

You can use any of the projects even if your ancestry is not primarily made up of DNA from that region. It can be helpful to use one that specializes in the region or regions that interest you.

MDLP This calculator has a global focus and is a favorite for many people, and I have written a complete post about this calculator in particular (What is the MDLP Project?)

Eurogenes A project that focuses on European DNA

Dodecad A project focusing primarily on those with European, Asian, or North African ancestry

HarrapaWorld This project focuses on Southeast Asian DNA

puntDNAL No website available, this project focuses on ancient DNA groups

EthioHelix A project focusing on the genetic populations of African , East African, and Ethiopian linguistics and history

GedrosiaDNA A project with a focus on Eurasian (Europe and Asia) and Sub-Saharan African DNA. There is no website currently available.

It is important to note that some projects are no longer maintained or updated, and others no longer have web pages associated with them. I’m grateful to Gedmatch for keeping the calculators on the site, since it allows us to experiment and learn more from our DNA.

Additionally, something that I have noticed with many of the project calculator models is that if your ancestry doesn’t match well with the focus of the project, the calculator will do its best to assign your DNA regions that are included in the results.

For example, I have no substantial recent ancestry from Africa, but if I run my DNA through the EthioHelix Africa-only calculator model, I will get results that assign my DNA to the available African regions. If I pick the Africa K10+French calculator, the results put more than 80% of my DNA as French, which is “closer” to accurate.

This is why it is best to choose a project and calculator model that best matches what you know about your heritage. The results of these calculators will likely vary from your ethnicity estimate received from your DNA testing company.

Top Gedmatch Admixture Calculators

When it comes to admixture calculators, the more specific the results, the higher the chance for error. This is true for Gedmatch calculators, and even for the results we get from our DNA testing company.

This means that you should experiment with a few different calculators from the same project in order to compare the results that you get. We can adjust how “specific” we want our results to be by choosing more or less population groups on our calculator model.

The number that comes after the “K” in the calculator is the number of populations that are included in the model. If we choose a higher number, we will get more specific results (and a higher chance for error). Lower population numbers will typically result in more accuracy.

Which is the most accurate admixture calculator?

The most accurate Gedmatch admixture calculator will depend on a few factors. These variables include an individuals specific ancestry, and what they are trying to learn about where their ancestors may have lived.

For example, are they interested in their very distant, ancient ancestry, or do they want results that are more useful for genealogy? In addition, most Gedmatch admixture calculators focus on different regions of the world, which is why results might vary across projects.

To help you find a good starting place with experimentation with admixture calculators, the below list suggests the “best” admixture project/calculator combinations.

Best Gedmatch admixture calculator for African ancestry

If you have nearly all African ancestry and no European ancestry, then the recommended project/calculator is the EthioHelix K10 Africa Only calculator. Your results will assign your DNA to the ten available African regions.

If have African ancestry and also European, but you’d like to focus on African regions that show up in your DNA, you can choose the EthioHelix K10 + French model. If you use this model, much (or all) of your European ancestry will show up as French, which you can temporarily ignore while you focus on the African regions in the results.

The rest of your DNA will be assigned to the ten African regions available on the calculator.

If you are African-American, the following post can help you learn more about using the EthioHelix calculator to explore your ancestry on the African continent:

Best Gedmatch admixture calculator for European ancestry

If you have primarily European ancestry, the recommended project/calculator combination is Eurogenes K36 calculator. If you have European ancestry along with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, you might try the Eurogenes Jtest model.

Best Gedmatch admixture calculator for Native American ancestry

My recommended Gedmatch Admixture calculator for Native American ancestry is the MDLP World 22. This is because it includes 22 world regions, including four Native American regions covering the continents of North and South America.

The following article can help you explore the two main calculators for learning more about your Native American or indigenous ancestry on the North and South American continents:

The MDLP World 22 calculator is also great for exploring your Neolithic DNA.

Best Gedmatch admixture calculator for Asian ancestry

If you have Asian ancestry, the HarrapaWorld calculator model is recommended. If you have ancestry from non-Asian regions, the model will assign that DNA to those broad regions. This allows you to focus on the Asian regions on the calculator model.

Best Gedmatch admixture calculator for learning about your ancient DNA

While learning about our most ancient DNA will not help us very much with genealogy, many people find it very interesting. There is one calculator on Gedmatch that is particularly useful for making comparisons with ancient populations.

In fact, you can even use the calculator to see if you have matches to ancient Western or Eastern European Hunter Gatherer populations.

This calculator is called:

  • Gedmatch Ancient Eurasia K6 calculator

Conclusion

I hope that this post gave you a good idea about where to start exploring your admixture on Gedmatch. If you have any questions about something that you read in this post, or if you would like to share what you learned on Gedmatch’s Admixture tools, please join us in the discussion below.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Share the knowledge!

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Arthur Sissman

Monday 14th of February 2022

Regarding your recommendation on Jtest in your info above, please be aware of the info provided by the creator in 2018 as noted in the info below. Thursday, September 27, 2012 Jtest K14 - the Eurogenes Ashkenazi ancestry test https://bga101.blogspot.com/2012/09/eurogenes-ashkenazim-ancestry-test-files.html

Update 19/03/2018: It's come to my attention that many people are still using the Jtest and taking the results very seriously. Indeed, perhaps too seriously.

Also, some users are doing weird stuff with the Jtest output in an attempt to estimate their supposedly "true" Ashkenazi ancestry proportions, like multiplying their Ashkenazi coefficient by three, because Ashkenazi Jews "only" score around 30% Ashkenazi in this test. Ouch! Please don't do that!

Let me reiterate that this test was only supposed to be a fun experiment. It was never meant to be the definitive online Ashkenazi ancestry test. And even as fun experiments with ADMIXTURE go, it's now horribly outdated, and probably useless for anyone with less than 15-20% Ashkenazi ancestry.

So it might be time to move on.……see blog link above for more info.

Regards, Arthur

MGatx

Saturday 12th of June 2021

I want to try GEDmatch Admixture (heritage), but don't understand all the options. Looked for info, found your post - very informative but still not sure how to select. I know I need to run "MDLP World 22" but don't see it. I see "MDLP Project". Some guidance would be appreciated.

Mark Pacifico

Friday 22nd of July 2022

@MGatx,

I'm sorry if my response is too late to help. Maybe posting will help others with the same question?

There are two pages to select a calculator. First selects the overall project, the second select which calculator within that project.

So, after you click on "Admixture(Heritage)", you will get the page "Admixture Utilities". Select "MDLP Project", and click "Continue". The next page that comes up will give you a drop menu with all the five different MDLP calculators. From there, you can enter your kit number and select "MDLP World 22"

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