Monday, September 20, 2021

Is It Soup Yet?


This post is inspired by Judy G. Russell’s blog post Not soup in 2021 either.

Her point is that the admixture results we get from DNA tests ARE ESTIMATES. They are educated guesses. Please note that these estimates vary from one testing service to another. They are not definitive; but some of the unexpected results may be interesting.

I claim that these estimates are soup. Soup in progress – still on the stove but not the final product. 

Soup is generally a combination of several, sometimes many, ingredients. So are we. Looking at a soup pot on the stove we can easily see the large ingredients; but what about the herbs and other small bits that give the soup its flavor?

My first views of my admixture showed a couple of surprises. I trace my Polish ancestors to the late 18th century – all in Poland. So why am I being told that I show Scandinavian or Greek heritage?

Well, history implies the Scandinavian part. In the 1650’s there was a 5 year war between Sweden and Poland. Five years!. I’d bet that some Swedish soldiers married and settled in Poland. I have no doubt that many other Swedish soldiers left their DNA scattered among Polish women.

Greek is a little more far-fetched, but my mother’s maiden name is Ganas. A search on that surname shows mostly Greeks. So maybe several hundred years ago a traveling merchant from Greece chose to stay in Poland. I’ll never know but it brings up a possibility.

I’m glad that my curiosity led me to look at these seeming anomalies. They make my heritage a bit more interesting.

I am comforted by seeing my admixture concentration where I’d expected it to be. But if, as 23andMe tells me, I carry Neanderthal genes, then I probably also carry some from Sweden and Greece.

My point is that while admixture is just an ESTIMATE, some of the outliers may be worth consideration.



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