Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Puerto Rican Look at: Genetic Communities

Now that I'm on summer vacation I hope I can get some more posts out -- especially since I'll be traveling and doing some research as well! I want to dedicate this post to the Genetic Communities aspect of AncestryDNA that was recently released.

This new feature of AncestryDNA is currently listed as "beta" meaning there are some kinks that will probably still be worked out. Though for me it does give me a generally accurate genetic community, I've noticed that it's not available to all - for example: a co-workers Panamanian husband does not currently have a genetic community listed for him.

Currently, I am listed as a part of 1 genetic community - let's take a look at what that means!

AncestryDNA Genetic Communities [Personal Photo]

What are Genetic Communities?
AncestryDNA describes Genetic Communities as the following: 

Genetic Communities [AncestryDNA]

When you click on your genetic community it takes you to your Genetic Ancestry page and now on the left corner towards the bottom you can see your genetic community. I was expecting my community to be something along the lines of Caribbean/Hispanic/Latino/etc. but it actually gets most in-depth than that. 

"Puerto Ricans in Northwest Puerto Rico"

It was able to group with "Puerto Ricans in Northwest Puerto Rico". 

"Puerto Ricans in Northwest Puerto Rico" Community [Personal Photo]

Genetic Community Grouping [Personal Photo]

I'm kind of torn with this grouping for various reasons. Something that's really cool about this grouping is that it gives you an overall history of the genetic community, and if you were raised outside that community it's a cool way of getting an overview of where your ancestors are from. For me, having done genealogy now for 13 years I can safely say that most of my family is spread ALL over the island and not just the west. Both of my parent's sides come from various towns across the islands, for example: my Rivera side has lived in in Toa Alta (more towards the East) for over 300 years and my maternal Correa side has traveled from San Juan to Coamo and finally to Salinas over the same time period. However, other sides do come from Lares, Adjuntas, Utuado (central), and some from San Sebastián, Mayagüez, Quebradillas (more western towns). However, shouldn't I belong to both West and East Genetic Communities? 

You are able to see all the other genetic communities they currently have listed in AncestryDNA. If you head into the South & Central American cluster you can find a Caribbean cluster that list three regions: 1) "African Caribbean", 2) "Spaniards, Cubans, Dominicans & Venezuelans", and 3) "Puerto Ricans". 

All Genetic Communities [Personal Photo]

Caribbean Regions [Personal Photo]

As you can see under "Puerto Ricans" there are 3 Genetic Communities, though when I click on it I'm led straight to my community rather than the various others. I'm not sure if there are other actual regions to Puerto Rico, especially since it's such a small island. I can't see my DNA cousins' Genetic communities so I can't investigate from there as well. 

Final Thoughts

Nonetheless, it's super interesting to see how AncestryDNA is developing this new area of DNA/Genetic genealogy. I'm guessing that this feature will continue to grow from the better and will ultimately be able to point more granular regions (maybe harder for places like Puerto Rico vs. countries like Spain, though). I wonder if my parents or other family members would have different regions show up. For example, I have Martinican and Guadeloupean ancestry… will that pop up for other cousins? 

Excited to see where this will take us genealogists in the future! 

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