DNA testing for Asian ancestry faces a couple of problems, which can make choosing the best DNA testing company rather challenging. This guide will introduce you to the biggest of those problems and offer our opinion on the best testing options for Asian heritage depending on the geographic location.
Main Problem With Asian Ancestry Reports
When it comes to ancestry DNA testing, we immediately think of industry giants like MyHeritage, AncestryDNA, and 23andMe. The main problem is that those companies provide the most accurate results for Anglo-Saxon and European lineages.
You see, once your DNA sample is processed, it is then compared to other genetic profiles in the company’s database in order to determine your haplogroup and establish your personal line of ancestral descendants thousands of years back. This is very hard to do with Asian ancestry since the most relevant databases don’t have enough genetic signatures from isolated Asian territories, meaning the final report will lack precision and specificity.
Companies form their respective databases by having clients take their ancestry DNA tests. Once the genetic analysis is recorded, it is stored in the system (anonymously) and can be used to generate more accurate reports and give a more specific map of one’s regional ancestry. Therefore, the best companies out there are quite limited at this point since they don’t have enough Asian DNA signatures for surgically precise estimates of regional percentages.
The universal solution to all problems with Asian ancestry testing is for more people to take the tests and enlarge the databases of Asian genetic signatures. Asia is a large continent with many genetic subgroups, which makes completely accurate estimates almost impossible to give without a large enough sample of reference databases.
Just to put some things into perspective, people in the East Asian ethnicity group can identify as Chinese, Russian, South/North Korean, Vietnamese, Mongolian, Japanese, Burmese (Myanmar), Filipino, Taiwanese, Thai, Indonesian, Cambodian, Laotian, Bruneian, Singaporean, and Palauan. Members of the Central Asian ethnicity can identify as Azerbaijani, Afghan, Tajik, Kazakh, Turkmen, Kyrgyz, Pashtun, and Uzbek. South Asians can be Pakistani, Indian, Bhutanese, Nepali, Sri Lankan, Bengali…
Every single one of these ethnicities requires a representative genetic database in order to be identified accurately, and the major testing companies are doing their best with what they got at this point. There are some services out there tailored for the Asian market, but their databases are also rather small and still cannot compete with giants like MyHeritage or AncestryDNA.
Our final recommendation is to go with AncestryDNA. After that, you can transfer your raw DNA data to a more Asian-specific provider like WeGene.