Wednesday, July 20, 2022

AncestryDNA Introduces DNA Chromosome Painter

 AncestryDNA has introduced a chromosome painter that shows the ethnicities in each chromosome of your mother and father.  You can read a lot about it in the article at  This is still in "Beta" development so some details may change as time goes on.

To find this feature, you go to your DNA Story page and scroll down to the bottom right of the page where you will see the Ethnicity Inheritance box and can click on the link to "View Breakdown" that will show you your Chromosome Painter information:

If you can discern which ethnicities belong to your mother and to your father, you can identify the ethnicities by region.  Since my mother's ethnicity is much more diverse (e.g., she has German, Dutch and French ancestry), I identified the left hand side of the ethnicity chart as my mother's, and the right side as my father's. 

Once you click on "View Breakdown" on the chart above, you can see all of your ethnicities on the Chromosome Browser by clicking on the "Explore Now" at the bottom of the "View Breakdown" page.

Here is my Chromosome Painter chart for all of my inherited 22 autosomal chromosomes:

The different colors are for different ethnicities according to AncestryDNA - mine are "England and Northwestern Europe," "Scotland, "Sweden & Denmark," "Norway," and "Wales."

I clicked on the "Maternal" button on the screen above and I can see my mother's ethnicity on each chromosome:

The segment identified as "Wales" is on chromosome 6.  The segments identified as "Norway" are on chromosomes 3, 12 and 20.  

Here is my "Paternal" ethnicity on each chromosome:

According to the AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates, he has no "Wales," "Norway" or "Sweden and Denmark" ancestry.  Most of his ethnicity is "England & Northwestern Europe."  However, the "Scotland" ethnicity is on chromosomes 1, 11, 13,14, 17 and 20.

To see a specific ethnicity, you can click on the specific ethnicity button on the left side of the chart:

On the chart above, I clicked on both "Sweden & Denmark" and "Norway" to see the chromosome breakdown.

This is very interesting, but it does depend on the "reference groups" selected by AncestryDNA to represent each ethnicity.  I have always considered that the AncestryDNA breakdown doesn't represent specific country breakdowns but a broader set of ethnicities.  For instance, I have no known Norway ancestry back to the 17th century, but "Norway" is reflected on my mother's chromosomes because she has German, Dutch, French, Scots-Irish and English ancestry that are the result of Viking, German and Norman invasions and settlements in the 9th to 11th centuries.  The articles notes that the chromosome areas with the "Unassigned" label have less than 0.5% (about 35 cM) and they don't have confdidence in assigning an Ethnicity to those areas.

For more information about my AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates, please see

Note that this is about chromosome ethnicity painting, and not chromosome segment DNA painting.  AncestryDNA does not offer chromosome segment DNA painting at this time.  

It will be interesting to compare the AncestryDNA ethnicity estimates by chromosome with the ethnicity estimates by chromosome from 23andMe.  My guess is that they will be significantly different.

It is difficult to discern the colors on the legend chart on the left side of the screen, especially for this group of ethnicities.  It would be good to make the color circle larger.  


Disclosure:  I received a complimentary test kit from AncestryDNA a long time ago.  I have had a paid Ancestry subscription since 2000, but have received material considerations (travel, hotel, meals, etc.) over the past ten years as a Geneablogger.
Copyright (c) 2022, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at


Bill said...

Hi Randy-

Thanks for highlighting and describing this new feature.

It seems that Ancestry is continuing to focus on this mother and father-line DNA related info with the last 2 releases.

While it's interesting for a one-time look-over, it does not give serious genealogists what we'd really like, true Chromosome painting capability to view against Ancestry DNA matches that would REALLY help us learn a lot more.

Bill Greggs

Unknown said...

According to this new feature, my sister and I are not of the same parents. We don't seem to share ethnicity with either parent.