In the spring of 2010 I began to “eat my own dog-food.” By this, I mean that I entered the world of “personal genomics.” I ordered a bunch of kits from 23andMe for myself and my family.
I didn’t have too many strong expectations of surprises. One thing though I did suspect: my parents would differ some in ancestry. My mother had family lore of someone of “Chinese” background in the 19th-century.
What did I find out? First I got my Y and mtDNA results. I was at a Japanese restaurant in Japantown in San Francisco when I got the email. My Y was R1a, and my mtDNA was U2b. I was a bit surprised by the mtDNA. Bangladesh is 80% macrohaplogroup M. The Y wasn’t as surprising. I knew a substantial minority of Bengalis were R1a from the literature. But it was cool knowing for certain.
What personal genomics in the 2010s has done is making the abstract concrete. The general personal. It’s now part of the mainstream. In 2010 personal genomics was very niche, and it’s not anymore.
Another thing that 23andMe told me is that my parents are very similar genome-wide. Depending on how you calculate it they are between 10 and 20 percent East Asian (their results are highly correlated using the same parameters). This surprised me. Whatever the family legends were, my parents are pretty generic East Bengalis.
This year, DNA from an ancient woman of the Indus Valley Civilization was analyzed from Rakhighari. It turns out she was U2b!
So on the paternal side my lineage extends back to the Eurasian steppe, and the Sintashta-Andronovo cultural horizon. But on the maternal side, it is deeply rooted northwest South Asia, with the Indus Valley Civilization. That’s a pretty cool duet of facts to learn in this decade about myself.
Note: If you want to download my VCF generated from high coverage whole genome sequencing, here is the link.