Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Confirming WEIRD

Last February, I wrote about the WEIRD situation in studies:  subjects are usually Western and Educated and from Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic countries.  This is true in the genetic genealogy testing field as well.  My father has hundred of relatives in the database at 23andMe.  My mother has thousands.  Rarely does the African-American lady whose account I manage receive any new matches, leaving her still hovering around sixty matches.

23andMe recently offered a new survey asking the people in their genetic database to report their ethnicity.

Here is the snapshot of the answers:

23andMe
Replies to the ancestry/ethnicity question.

People who identify themselves as European comprise three quarters of the database.  If you are not of mostly European heritage, you will likely not find many relatives in the database.  As more people test, additional relatives will become available, but you need to keep this in mind when you either find very few relatives or all of your relatives look European, especially if you know otherwise in your family tree.