FEATURE 1 Native American Is Just Not That Into You

Disclosure
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
- Langston Hughes

Screenshot of AncestryDNA test-taker "MW," whose Ethnicity Estimate shows 0.00% Native American and Asian admixture percentages, including the Range score where trace amounts can sometimes register. 
Let me guess! You have an "Indian Princess" story in your direct family line? Or your great-great-grandfather was rumored to be half-Cherokee? Or you've got photos, census records, tribal enrollment papers and other anecdotal evidence proving your direct ancestor was Choctaw? In fact people tell you all the time that you and especially your grandmother have features like the Rosebud Sioux Tribe? So when you decided to take a DNA test, you were either mildly expecting or hastily anticipating Native American to show up in your DNA ( = ethnicity admixture percentages)? And now your results are in and ...you got ZERO percent? OR a disappointingly low amount? OR another surprising ethnic component altogether? Yikes!
Is that about right?

In this "Recombinant DNA" blog and deep dive I'm going to discuss three general (and simplified) reasons why Native American genes would not show up in your DNA, and what to do if you suspect it is hiding (ie not being reported) in your results. I also provide examples of why you may need to test at more than one DNA company and/or the same company twice to find your elusive Native American ancestry. To choose the best DTC personal genome service(s), please see The Best DNA Tests for Native American 
Ancestry, where I discuss each offering. Also be sure to join our Native American Ancestry Explorer FaceBook group [recommended by Roberta Estes 2016 blog hereto share your story
But before I talk about why your results may be void of Native American DNA, I want to go over  a few quick points:
  • One of the most important things you must remember is that having Native American DNA is different from having Native American ancestry. This is because your potential inheritable Native American DNA could be lost every generation but you could still have real Native American ancestry in your family history. 
  • Genealogical DNA tests (including Gedmatch.com) can’t tell you a specific Native American tribe you might belong to. Nor can you use these DNA tests as a basis for tribal enrollment, or to narcissistically declare yourself an "Indian."
  •  If you did have family members that were considered to be Native American, your DNA test results may not reveal any evidence of it. Especially if you come from a complex ethnic heritage. 
  • Only Native American tribes or indigenous families can determine whether to accept you as one of them, even if you have no Native American DNA or a lot of it. [see story of Haitian-born Native American adoptee].
  • What’s more, the Native American diaspora is poorly sampled as many indigenous populations refuse to test, making it challenging for these analyses to adequately identify your Native American DNA. 
  • Another downside to lack of NA samples is you're less likely to find a Native American match from a specific tribe. Moreover, these ethnicity admixture tests only provide ESTIMATES of your affinity (similarity) to reference populations chosen and labelled by each company.  23andMe, for example, built its ethnicity reference panel by choosing "candidate [reference] populations that appear to cluster together, and then evaluate if they can distinguish the groups in practice." 
  • This also means the ethnic percentages in your DNA results doesn’t literally mean you’re related to or have any genealogical connection whatsoever to that specific ethnic population. 
  • And even if you shared Native American DNA with another test taker it may not reveal the tribal origins of your shared common ancestor. As such, you should always test at more than one DNA company to form a range score of your estimated Native American DNA (ie 0% to 3%) and to maximize your overall genealogical DNA experience. 
  • New studies suggest there is NO credible basis or evidence suggesting indigenous peoples of the Americas descend from ancient Europeans (ie Soultrean theory) or ancient Iraelites. (see George Diepenbrock).
  •  Or it could simply be that Native American DNA is just not that into you.
Three Reasons Why Native American DNA Does NOT Show Up On Your Test Results ...
(1) Your "full-blood" Native American ancestor may have lived so far back in time that your NA ancestor's DNA has "washed out" by the time it reached your generation.
According to 23andMe, Native American DNA has been known to "wash out" in a few short  generations (about 5), especially if none of your other progenitors introduced it along the way. Wash-outs usually occur during Random Genetic Recombination, when DNA gets randomly remixed as it passes from parent to child --- some of it (ethnic components/DNA sequences from our direct fore-parents) eventually gets lost over time. This is because each child inherits random DNA contributions from his/her 2 parents (50% each); 4 grandparents (25% each); 8 g-grandparents (12.5% each); 16 gg-grandparents (6.25% each); 32 ggg-grandparents (3.125%); 64 gggg-grandparents (1.56% each), etc. as the table here illustrates:
As you can see the farther your NA ancestor is removed from your generation, the more likely your average DNA contributions from this NA is to show up in low admixture percentages or none at all. For example, if one of your 32 ggg-grandparents was full-blood Native American, you stand to inherit up to 3.125% of that ggg-grandparent's DNA. Since the DNA you will inherit from your parentage is RANDOM and your ancestors will rarely be 100% of any one ethnicity, it is theoretically possible for you to inherit non-Native American DNA from this ancestor if other ethnic components are present and according to when this NA ancestor was introduced to the bloodline. For example Native Americans are known to have varying amounts of East Asian and Eurasian admixture due sharing ancestral populations with them. And after 15th century, Native Americans became admixed with Europeans and Africans.  NOW HERE'S THE TRICKY PART! You don't inherit your reshuffled DNA in fixed percentages as the chart above suggests. Rather you inherit your DNA sequences in chunks or segments of varying "lengths" (aka CentiMorgans) as shown in this illustration:


So starting with your grandparents, you will actually NOT get 25% DNA equally from each one. Instead the contributions per grandparent could be more like:
15% from grandparent #1 
35% from grandparent #2 
40% from grandparent #3
10% from grandparent #4
Now imagine if we apply my "genetic formula" to your grandparent #4, who in turn was descended from your hypothetical Native American ggg-grandparent mentioned earlier. Your grandparent #4  could have only inherited about 12.5%(+/-) NA DNA from his g-grandparent (full blood Native American) and it might be less than average amount. Question: How much of the 10% DNA you inherited from your  grandparent #4 will consist of the 12.5%(+/-) Native American DNA contribution that he received from his g-grandparent (= ggg-grandparent)? At the 5th generation for YOU, chances are equally likely to be anywhere 0.00% to 3.125%(+/-) NA DNA depending on how much NA DNA grandparent #4 gave your parent, and if your parent passed any of it to you (see How Much Of Your Genome Do You Inherit From a Particular Grandparent). While you will definitely inherit DNA from your grandparent #4 (@ 10%), it may not include any DNA that can identified as Native American. In my own family I have a relative who did not receive any NA DNA from his parents, even though his father has a NA mtDNA haplogroup (B2) and whose DNA-tested close paternal relatives (aunt, uncle, cousins) scoring 2%(+/-) NA (inclusive of shared NA DNA segments). Instead my relative got 4% Southeast Asian (SEA). He just didn't get any of the NA DNA from his father, noting the SEA component in this branch of my family is related to Malagasy peoples (see Sergio Tofanelli, et al and Teresa Vega's blog) ancestry, and much stronger than the Native American. Go figure. 
Indian Removals. Trail of Tears. Source: Wikipedia
Wash-outs also happen when no additional Native American DNA is introduced to your blood line. This is very common in the United States where events like Indian Removals prevented indigenous peoples from integrating with the general population. To this point, Latinos in US descend from ancestors whose circumstances allowed for extensive Amerindian intermixing with European and African populations in Latin America, which is why Latinos usually show higher amounts of Native American DNA on atDNA tests. In the US, Native American removal and extermination events coupled with "regional impacts of slavery, immigration, migration and colonization within the United States" [see 23andMe study: Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United Statesbest explains why Native American DNA often shows up in low or ghostly (0.00%) amounts for Americans (and Canadians). The good news is that even in small amounts (below 2%) Native American ancestry can be very REAL so you might not want to be so quick to dismiss it as statistical noise. Of course this also means your ancestors had limited interaction with Native Americans and chances are none of their DNA got into you.
The following example below illustrates how fast Native American DNA can wash out. Here is a father who is a descendant from the Cree/Salteaux tribe; he inherited 10% NA. His daughter with 7% NA, and his grandson with only 3%. His grandson may not pass any or all of his NA DNA to his own children at the rate of decrease:
DNA Test results for the family of Amy Fournier Ruffi. Used by permission.

(2) It is possible your ancestors were not Native American by blood. 
Irish rock band The Indians. Used here as satire. No disrespect intended.
This one can be hard for many of you because your DNA results may contradict what you believe or have been told about your fabled Native American ancestry. Let's say you have evidentiary proof that one of your gg-grandparents were enrolled into a tribe and belonged to a NA family, but your DNA results show 0.00% NA DNA. In this instance it's possible for your gg-grandparent to have been Native American by adoption, marriage or some other circumstantial situation where a legal (not genetic) relationship can be established. For example Freedmen (former African slaves of Cherokee, Choctaw, etc) and free persons of color (ie Black Seminoles) are enrolled tribal members, but not all of them "cohabitated" with Native American-descended members of their tribe. In Northeast US and Canada the French allied with indigenous tribes [see French & Indian War] and lived among them, but this could have excluded genetic material being exchanged between the two groups in many instances. Also consider other Asian populations like Filipinos, Chinese, Polynesian and Malagasy populations that came to the Americas by freewill or force. In the 18th and 19th centuries many of these Asian populations were often been lumped together with Native Americans especially for racial classification purposes. Of course these Asian groups also intermixed and lived with Native American populations like the Filipinos of the Nooksack Tribe and Filipino Mexicans, which have been arriving to Mexico since the 1500's. Some DNA tested Mexicans today show haplogroup assignments more commonly found in Filipinos. As such your results may show Asian DNA percentages from a REAL Asian source instead of a Native American on. It's also possible for your ancestors to be from such Native American tribes as LumbeeRamapough Mountain Indians, and Cherokee -- these populations have members with multiple ancestries. So the NA DNA you thought you were inheriting from these ancestors might turn out to be a REAL Asian, African, European or Middle Eastern component. Likewise you may UNKNOWINGLY descend from other such multi-ethnic isolate populations as Melungeons, endogamous populations as Jewish, or nomadic populations as Romani (South Asian), all of which are often misconstrued as Native American. Inevitably you will have to examine your genealogical history honestly and thoroughly to decide whether or not your ancestors had a cultural and/or genetic connection to Native Americans especially if your DNA test(s) are suggesting otherwise. 
(3) The DNA Test has a problem assigning Native American DNA to your genome.
23andMe screenshot showing proprietary analysis
Can you blame the DNA test for not detecting Native American DNA in your genome? The answer might be YES, and here's why: First, the percentage of your genome utilized for these genealogical DNA tests is very small. Most personal genome services  (23andMeFamilyTreeDNA, AncestryDNAanalyze anywhere from 400,000 to 700,000 ancestry informative markers (more commonly SNPs) out of a potential 15 million (the human genome has about 3 billion base pairs [see ISOGG's Autosomal DNA Comparison Chart]. A new test on the market TribeCode sequences 12 million markers using Next Generation Sequencing methods. Imagine if we could test all potential 15 million AIMs/SNPs, or better yet the entire genome to make sure not one marker for ethnicity genotyping is missed. Well according to Dienekes Utah Whites vs.Tuscan study with 1.5 million SNPs, it might not make much of a difference. Dienekes study says, "We should note that increasing the number of markers has diminishing returns: most new markers are in linkage disequilibrium with existing markers, and hence provide little additional information: going from 10 to 110 markers has a huge effect, but going from 1000 to 1100 a trivial one. ... The conclusion is obvious that the 5-fold increase in markers from 300K to 1.5M had no noticeable effect in the apparent mixed-ness of populations and individuals." However I suspect going from 400-700K to 1.5 million, or even 12 million (Tribecode), is NOT  trivial as long as the algorithm and proprietary analysis is able to adequately process and report the dataYour DNA test has other problems during the genotyping process. For example, there are no-calls (the analysis can't adequately detect your genotype at the SNP location), miscalls (the resolution is low at certain SNP location leading to the algorithm to make a mistake or guess your genotype at that SNP location), deletions (SNPs get deleted during genotyping process), insertions (SNPs get inserted during genotyping process), smoothing (your data is modified to capture the most important data by removing presumable noise) and imputed DNA values (basically computer guesses based on statistical probability). All of this could further negatively affect your ethnic admixture scores or lead to it not being reported at all. 
Another problem is the way most DNA companies aggregate and assign your ethnic components, which seems to particularly impact people with multi-ethnic backgrounds where racial lines tend to blur and overlap. In other words the algorithm will make a gamble call (which may be wrong) if your markers at that location cluster closely with two different populations. Notably during this process your Native American might get labelled as something else or ignored. For instance 23andMe’s proprietary algorithm (BEAGLE) analyzes your SNPs in windows of 100 for its Ancestry Composition; in each window your data is aggregated and assigned ethnic components  based on confidence system and imputed SNP values (using IMPUTE) so your some of your NA components may be averaged in with another ethnic component if the latter is more significant in the window of your DNA being analyzed. ... **BTW 23andMe, currently the most sensitive test for detecting NA DNA alleges a 99% Precision rate, meaning if the DNA segment is labelled as "Native American" then it has a 99% chance of being Native American; and a 99% Recall rate, meaning that if there is Native American admixture in your genome it is almost guaranteed to be found and labelled as such.** ... In another example, Genetic expert Dr. Doug McDonald told one of my relatives with 1% Native American and 0.78% East Asian that "0.003 of the E. Asia is borderline and MAY be actually Native American." Since Dr. McDonald's BGA analysis is thought to be excellent at detecting Native American ancestry,  the seemingly trivial 0.003% amount still lends credence to your Native American DNA  getting possibly assigned as something else especially if the SNPs tested at a location clusters with both Native American and East Asian populations (and more true if you tested at more than one reputable DNA company, and one shows NA but the other didn't or labelled it something else). Dr. McDonald says in an interview"Native American is listed as just that. It is quite uncommon for it to be listed in error … except for genuine people from Siberia and Saami. FTDNA does not mistakenly show American as Asian. “Mayan” is the usual listing for any Native American north of Panama, through all of Mexico, and east of the Rockies in the USA and Canada." For more information on how the most popular personal genome companies assign DNA, please see 23andMe Aggregating and AssigningFTDNA White Paper & Methodology  and AncestryDNA White Paper
Poor sampling of indigenous populations in the Americas can often lead to DNA tests missing your Native American DNA. For example, 23andMe's Ancestry Composition uses Maya (25), Pima (25), Karitiana (24), Colombian (13) and Surui (21); FamilyTreeDNA's myOrigins utilizes Karitiana (23) and Surui (21); and AncestryDNA's Ethnicity Estimate boasts 131 individual, but uncategorized, reference samples (HGDP, AncestryDNA). Note the low quantity of samples and limited biogeography represented. Skeptics might argue that these reference populations are sufficient enough to detect some Native American DNA in your genome, especially since indigenous populations appear to have some degree of endogamy [see Clovis Boy discovery]. However other scientific studies suggest Native American groups do have differences [see Paul Verdu et al.], including the obvious uniparental markers/haplogroups [see Bolnik DA, Smith DG], and that poor Native American sampling hampers granularity and resolution. Another report says: "The weakness of the genetic tests poses an even bigger problem when you're looking for Native American ancestors. Native Americans have been reluctant to participate in genetic testing, which means scientists don’t have many reliable markers for that population. In addition, the genetic profiles that have been conducted show that many card-carrying members of certain tribes, such as the Cherokee, have more European ancestors than Native American ancestors. That means even the small number of Native American genetic markers we know of aren’t present in large segments of the population, making it difficult to find evidence of Native American DNA....." As such little is known of the full extent of Native America populations markers/mutations or how much they mixed with each other prior to colonization from Europeans. When my relative (with known Native American ancestry from northeast USA) transferred her 23andMe raw data results to DNA Tribes for a (third-party) SNP analysis, her report showed lots of Southeast Asian categories (which we now know is Malagasy ancestry). So we asked DNA Tribes if those Asian components were likely related to her Native American ancestry or is it some sort of real Southeast Asian? DNA Tribes' late founder Lucas Martin replied, “Native American ancestry from tribes not sampled in our SNP database (such as northeastern U.S. and eastern Canadian tribes) can be expressed in region and population components from other parts of the Americas and in some cases Asia,” including Karitiana Brazil, Miao China, Hazara Pakistan, Thailand, Daur China, Mongol Mongolia and Cambodian." Thus, until more Native American (and Asian) references samples are added -- especially from Eastern USA and Canada -- your Native American DNA has a good chance of being assigned as something else or not at all. 
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR NATIVE AMERICAN DNA IS HIDING IN THE TEST?
Here are six (6) options to consider:
  • Use Third-Party Tools. I recommend downloading your raw data from 23andme.com, FTDNA, AncestryDNA raw data and uploading to Gedmatch.com, a FREE third-party site with great genealogy tools (especially admixture calculators) which may pick up ethnic components missed by major DNA companies. (The best admixture calculators at Gedmatch are: Dodecad World9Eurogenes K13MDLP World-22Eurogenes K36 or in some cases HarappaWorld). For a great guide on using Gedmatch tools and other third-party sites to find Native American DNA, please read The Autosomal Me – Rooting Around in the Weeds Using Third Party Tools Posted by Roberta Estes section on Gedmatch.com. 
  • Check your DNA company's ethnic admixture reporting thresholds. Every company sets their own reporting threshold for their atDNA test. Some don't report percentages lower than 2%, while others go as low 0.1%. If the amount of ethnicity detected in your DNA analysis is below this threshold it simply will not get reported. For example, a relative with a documented Cherokee ancestor (born about 1775) tested at 23andMe and received 0.5% NA DNA. However when she tested at FTDNA, no NA was found because it was below their 1% reporting threshold. So if you suspect your Native American ancestor was very distant it is possible your NA  admixture contributions may not meet the reporting requirements.
  • Check Your Maternal & Paternal Haplogroup Assignments and those of Your Relatives. You may be able to use your Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) or Paternal haplogroup and/or mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or maternal haplogroup assignment to prove your Native American ancestry exists -- even if your Autosomal DNA (atDNA) Test results shows 0.00% Native American admixture! Haplogroups can be used to define genetic populations and some of them exclusively originate in Native American populations due to tens of thousands of years of isolation in the Americas [see Indigenous peoples of the Americas]. The mtDNA haplogroups only originating in Native American populations are A2, B2, C1, D1, X2a  and  subgroups AS WELL AS subgroups C4c, D2, D3, and D4h3. The  Y-DNA haplogroups originating in Native American populations is Q1a3a aka Q-M3 and subgroups. [See also ISOGG Phylo tree.] Thus, if you have a confirmed mtDNA or Y-DNA haplogroup exclusive originating in Native Americans, it means you affirmatively have a Native American ancestor existing somewhere in your past. Here is an example of someone with a Native American mtDNA haplogroup and a paper trail to a Native American ancestor but have NO Native American ethnicity percentages. Her mtDNA haplogroup is B2c (only found in Native Americans) and her earliest known ancestor is from Kichesipirini Tribe of Algonquin nation, who was born in the 1620’s Canada East, Allumette Islands, Quebec, Ottawa River: 
As you can see, this person above definitely has Native American ancestry as determined by her mtDNA haplogroup and corroborating paper trail, but it apparently "washed out" by the time it reached her; the Sub Saharan African is separate. However small traces were found on Gedmatch's MDLP Worl-22 admixture calculator as seen here: 

To this point, I also recommend testing other direct-line relatives to find out if they, too, have a Native American haplogroup assignment. This is how I learned my maternal great-grandmother (with whom I would not share the same haplogroup) is mtDNA haplogroup B2 (see chart below). Several of my great-grandmother's direct descendants across generations tested and results were affirmative for mtDNA B2. So there really is Native American in my bloodline no matter what some of my DNA tests report! The best tests (USA) for high resolution halplogroup testing is: FamilyTreeDNANational Genographic 2.0, newcomer TribeCode, and 23andMe (lower resolution); the latter three includes mtDNA and Y-DNA testing along with its atDNA product.
      In the chart below, I show an example of how Native American Y-DNA and mtDNA was inherited in my family. When "my cousin" tested at 23andme.com he discovered that he inherited a Native American Y-DNA halplogroup (Q1a3a) from his father, who is  African-American from South Carolina low country. With mtDNA I show how my grandfather and his close relatives (siblings, nieces, nephews) inherited Native American mtDNA haplogroup B2 from my great-grandmother whose maternal line comes from colonial New Jersey and New York:
      • Test for unique Native American marker D9S919, known as the 9-repeat-allele (9RA) of chromosome 9. This unique marker has been found in all tested Native American populations. Of course if you're positive for 9RA on chromosome #9 then you too might have a real Native American ancestor somewhere in your past. The 9RA test and a full spectrum of single SNPs tests (mostly for uniparental markers) are offered by FamilyTreeDNA.com[also see http://dna-explained.com/2012/12/18/proving-native-american-ancestry-using-dna/]
        • Test a parent and other relatives rumored to be the source of your Native American ancestor. Testing a parent may help your learn if you have Native American ancestry. When you test a parent it is possible to have your results phased -- the process of trying to determine what DNA each parent contributed to your genome. If you and a parent test at 23andMe the phasing is performed automatically; but Gedmatch.com offers a phasing program that accepts uploads from AncestryDNA and FTDNA. It is possible your parent might have Native American DNA that was not passed to you. Testing your full siblings and grandparents may also help with clues about Native American DNA in your bloodline. Additionally, your own admixture results may become more specific and you could even pick up some Native American DNA missed before phasing. You should also test your elderly and other direct relatives descended from your rumored Native American source to see if they inherited any NA DNA. 
        • Consider testing  at more than one company and/or taking the same test twice. I recommend testing at all popular DNA companies (23andMe FamilyTreeDNAAncestryDNAand newcomer TribeCodeto get best perspective of your overall ethnicity estimate, inclusive of Native American admixture. Testing at more than one company may also increase your chances of sharing a genetic connection with a person of Amerindian descent -- preferably one where you and your genetic match share a Native American DNA segment. To help you decide if you need to test at more that one DNA company or test twice at the same one, I will present three (3) cases where genealogical tests failed to express Native American DNA, but was detected when the customer took another test and/or tested twice at some company:
        Case #1: "MW" first took the AncestryDNA test. He is from the southern US and had rumors of a Native American ancestor from one of his grandmother. Apparently his family inherited NA features according to MW.  So when MW's results came back he was saddened to discover his test showed no Native American or Asian DNA. Not even in the Range Score, where trace percentages can show: 
        I convinced MW to test at 23andme and when the results came in (below), he was relieved to see his Ancestry Composition showed 1.1% Native American, East Asian and Southeast Asian DNA. Notice his clear and quite long Native American segment on chromosome #4 (bottom bar). His results also indicated Broadly [assigned] Native American & East Asian in Ancestry Composition's Conservative mode, which indicates a 90% chance of being real:

        Case #2: "RO" is a relative of mines our great-grandmother was said to be Native American. He tested at AncestryDNA, 23andme, and FTDNA. For starters, RO learned that he had a Native American mtDNA haplogroup assignment B2 so there is definitely an Amerindian ancestor(s), but will it show in his atDNA results? 
        The first DNA test RO took was actually at AncestryDNA. His Ethnicity Estimate showed up to 1% Native American, and 3% Asian total (@ 2% Asian Central + <1% Asia East) and <1% Polynesian.

        The second DNA test RO took was 23andMe and his DNA test shows 4.1% East Asian & Native American, with 2.1% Southeast Asian (this is Malagasy) and 1.7% Native American (from his mtDNA B2 mother AND his father) and 0.3% Nonspecific East Asian & Native American. 23andme gave him the highest amount of the other tests:

        Finally, RO transferred his AncestryDNA raw data to FamilyTreeDNA's myOrigins test and
        shockingly it showed no Native American or Asian DNA. (FTDNA has been contacted about it but so far the admixture results are the same):

        Case #3: I've tested twice at all three DNA companies. I've several stories of Native American ancestry from my paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather. I thought I would show at least 5% or more DNA trying to be conservative. I would later discover my maternal grandfather had a Native American mtDNA haplogroup assignment and Malagasy (Southeast Asian) ancestry. So what would my tests show?:
        I tested first and twice at AncestryDNA test. The first test showed no Native American at all. But I did show <1% South Asian and <1% Pacific Islander-Polynesian. I contacted AncestryDNA and they said the results might should change in future, which never came:

        I decided to roll the dice and see what another test at AncestryDNA would show. This time I got <1% America (Native American), <1% Asia East and <1% Pacific Islander. Note there was no South Asian detected on this test or any subsequent test I took.
        When I transferred my AncestryDNA results to FTDNA myOrigins, no Native American or Asian  was detected; my NA DNA may have been below FTDNA 1% reporting requirement: 

        I also tested twice at 23andme.com, and both tests show 1.9% East Asian & Native American DNA (evenly split). However in the past, Ancestry Composition has changed/updated several times and my Native American DNA score ranged from a high of 3% to a low of 1.2% and now 1.9%. 23andMe also missed some Native American on chromosome #20 (see next painting from McDonald). I'm sure it will change again for the better:
        Dr. Doug McDonald BGA Project. To be sure I sent my AncestryDNA and 23andme.com raw data to Dr. Doug McDonald for his Biogeographical Analysis (BGA) project  since his test is considered great at detecting real Native American admixture. Dr. McDonald confirmed my Native American and a separate East Asian DNA. He also was able to report that AncestryDNA totally missed reporting some of it. Below are my Doug McDonald BGA results from both AncestryDNA and 23andMe. My Doug McDonald chromosome painting (see below) is very similar to my 23andMe Ancestry Composition's chromosome painting (see above) and picked up NA on chromosome #20. Otherwise. the Native American and Asian segments appear to be displayed in  the same locations:
        MY ANCESTRYDNA RESULTS (DR. DOUG MCDONALD)
        Most likely fit is 21.5% (+- 0.1%) Europe (various subcontinents)
        and 78.5% (+- 0.1%) Africa (all West African)
        The following are possible population sets and their fractions,
        most likely at the top
        Romania= 0.216 Yoruba= 0.784 or
        Hungary= 0.214 Yoruba= 0.786 or
        French= 0.214 Yoruba= 0.786 or
        Spain= 0.216 Yoruba= 0.784
        but in fact England or Ireland are also as likely as the Eastern Europe.
        But what Ancestry missed is Native American and Asian, about 1% to 1.3% eachThe Mideast is POSSIBLY Sephardic.


        MY 23ANDME RESULTS (DR. DOUG MCDONALD)
        Most likely fit is 23.4% (+- 11.7%) Africa (various subcontinents)
        and 58.6% (+- 12.2%) Africa (all West African)
        which is 82.0% total Africa
        and 18.0% (+- 0.7%) Europe (various subcontinents)

        The following are possible population sets and their fractions,
        most likely at the top
        Bantu Ke= 0.370 Mandenka= 0.444 Irish= 0.186 or
        Maasai= 0.130 Yoruba= 0.685 Irish= 0.185 or
        Maasai= 0.159 Yoruba= 0.662 Russian= 0.179 or
        O-Ethiop= 0.110 Yoruba= 0.718 Irish= 0.172 or
        Maasai= 0.155 Yoruba= 0.666 Finland= 0.179 or
        O-Ethiop= 0.130 Yoruba= 0.706 Finland= 0.163 or
        Bantu Ke= 0.353 Mandenka= 0.460 English= 0.186 or
        Maasai= 0.153 Yoruba= 0.668 Belorus= 0.179 or
        Bantu Ke= 0.408 Mandenka= 0.409 Finland= 0.183 or
        Bantu Ke= 0.371 Mandenka= 0.442 Hungary= 0.187
        but the eastern European is wrong ... it is plain British. The African is indeed
        a bit “east of Nigerian typical”. And yes, there really is American at 1.0%, which is, as you see on one plot, rather hard to tell the exact nature of,  but is typical of US Afro-(Euro)Americans. There is also a separate, and clearly real, East Asian of some sort, also at 1%. These two subtract from the European percent. 


        CONCLUSION
        Native American populations are bound by their cultures, beliefs, traditions and genealogical histories so a DNA test can't be used to validate them. However DNA can be used in a broader context to confirm if we share genetic kinship with them and have ancestry markers similar to theirs. It may also help answer questions when your Native American rumors are unsubstantiated by a paper trail or probable tribal connection. Yet DNA testing is not foolproof and you must be careful about drawing conclusions without careful examination or evidentiary proof. In my personal situation I do have Native American DNA, which in part supports my family's stories of Native American ancestry. However this ancestry is farther back in my history than I expected based on my current ethnicity admixture estimates. I also have a separate Southeast Asian contribution, which I've recently learned is Malagasy (we have genetic matches from Madagascar). If I'd only tested at one company or didn't transfer my raw data to third-party sites I wouldn't be able to get a clear estimate of my Native American DNA contributions  (remember my first AncestryDNA test showed less than 0.1%) and may have been dismissive of my family's oral history. I also understand that because my NA percentages are in the 1%(+/-) to 2%(+/-) range the DNA analysis can easily miss or not report NA in my ethnically diverse genome. This also probably means that neither of my grandparents had significant amounts Native American DNA based on my results. Nevertheless my Native American ancestors were definitely REAL, and I speculate a full blood ancestor existing in the range of 5th to 7th-great-grandparent if  from my maternal grandfather with mtDNA haplogroup B2. Yet it is equally possible I didn't any inherit any NA DNA from this particular grandfather; instead it could've derived from another grandparent, or both of them. The good news is our DNA results will change as the science improves and more Native American test! Meanwhile I encourage you to continue building your genealogical paper trail; IMPORTANT:
        exploring  your genetic relatives from DNA tests (these matches could belong to a tribe); testing at more than one DNA company to get a range score of your potential Native American DNA, and to maximize your overall genealogical DNA experience. You must also test other close relatives and elders that are suspected to be the source of your Native American ancestry. Finally don't be afraid to accept the fact that Native American DNA is just not that into you. Good Luck.

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