Eurogenes On GEDmatch (Explained For Beginners)

The Eurogenes project on GEDmatch has a set of admixture calculators that compare your ethnicity with a range of DNA samples from project volunteers and academic sources.

Some of the Eurogenes calculators focus on ancient ancestries, such as the early Farmers and Hunter Gatherers. Others try to assess more recent eras of European and Asian geography.

This article gives a detailed review of the two most popular Eurogenes calculators, the K13 and the K15 versions. If you’re not sure how to interpret your Oracle results, we have links to a detailed tutorial and video.

You may want to explore all the calculators, so we have info and tips for each of the others. But before we get into each calculator, we’ll explain some general background and concepts.

Table Of Contents

Origins Of The Eurogenes Project

The creator of the Eurogenes project is a Polish blogger named David Wesolowski. He uses the blog handle Davidski and is sometimes referred to as Polako.

Back in 2011, Davidksi started working with a version of the admixture software made available by the originator of the Dodecad project. As the project name suggests, Davidksi took a particular interest in European ancestry with a broadly eastern direction.

The GEDmatch projects date from 2012 to 2016. It’s important to note that Davidski continues with his interests in heritage analysis, but his attention has moved from GEDmatch to other technology and projects.

Bear in mind that all these GEDmatch projects are a little outdated. But they can be very interesting to explore.

The K Numbers

Most of the Eurogenes calculators end with K and a number, such as K15 or K36.

The K number shows the number of populations or communities that are analyzed by the calculator. K15 uses 15 populations, while K36 uses 36 populations.

Your results show the percentage breakdown against each of these populations. It may seem that the more populations used, the better the results will be. However, the opposite is the case. The accuracy decreases as the K number rises.

So, the K36 calculator is highly speculative and I wouldn’t pay it much attention.

However, that doesn’t mean that the K9 calculator is automatically better than the K13 or the K15.

Beware The Best Fit

One of the problems with all the calculators is that they will try to fit you to their model. And that can be like banging a square peg into a round hole – because there’s no square hole available.

I’ll use the K9 and K9b calculators as an example. Both have nine populations that are mostly similar. But K9 splits out the Caucasus and Siberia into distinct regions while having “West African” as the only African community. In contrast, K9b  has two African regions of “South African” and “Sub Saharan African”, while losing some typically European populations.

But what happens if your heritage is half European and half East African (in modern geographical terms)?

Take a look below at precisely this example from my results. K9 shovels approximately 50% of my admixture into the only African community it has: West African.

In contrast, K9b throws a substantial part of my admixture across Sub Saharan and South African. Obviously, both calculators can’t be right.

The point is that when a substantial portion of your DNA doesn’t align with any of the populations within the model, the calculator will assign it to the nearest fit.

If you have a good idea about your ancestry going back several generations, you can usually see that the calculator is giving you a community “close by”. But if you are exploring your admixtures from a position of uncertainty, there’s no real way to be sure that the results are valid.

Some Calculators Are Good For Some People

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some fun exploring the projects and calculators. My recommendation is you use the calculators that are most widely reported as being “good”.

There are several forums where people post their results and comment on how much or how little the breakdown tallies with their known heritage. I’ve taken a trawl through hundreds of examples, and it’s clear that some of the calculators are useful for people from particular European areas. The next sections will call those out.

Eurogenes Calculators Without An Oracle Spreadsheet

All the calculators compare your DNA results to reference populations made up of DNA samples assembled by the project creator. In general, the reference samples come from:

  • People who send their DNA results to the project creator
  • Selecting samples from academic genome projects
  • Selecting from a small number of ancient DNA samples

When you run any of the GEDmatch calculators, you’ll see a “spreadsheet” button on your results page. I’ve got a full article and tutorial about using the GEDmatch Oracle and spreadsheets.

The spreadsheet shows you exactly which DNA samples were used to form each population given in your admixture breakdown. This gives you a deeper understanding of your calculator results.

The problem with GEDmatch is that some of the calculators don’t have the reference data available. When you hit the spreadsheet button, you may see this:

(36) ERROR: Reference data not found.

This means that the reference spreadsheet is not available.

My advice is to focus on the Eurogenes calculators that have Oracle spreadsheets. These are ones that don’t have a spreadsheet:

  • Eurogenes K9
  • Eurogenes K9b
  • Eurogenes K10
  • Eurogenes K11
  • Eurogenes K12
  • Eurogenes K12b

You may be worried that this doesn’t leave you with any to work with! But two Eurogenes calculators have spreadsheets, and the consensus is that they are the best options. These are

  • Eurogenes K13
  • Eurogenes K15

We’ll go into these two calculators in detail in the next sections.

Then we’ll take a briefer look at all the other calculators. I’ll give you some tips on how to get more background if you’re really interested in their results.

GEDmatch Eurogenes K13 Explained

The Eurogenes K13 calculator is the default option within the project. The model uses 13 reference populations when analyzing your admixture.

I reviewed several genealogy and anthropology forums where GEDmatch users post their results. There are plenty who aren’t sure how to interpret what they see. But many describe how the K13 results do or do not align with their known heritage.

Who Gets Most Benefit From K13 Results?

From the reports I’ve seen, the K13 calculator suits people with predominantly east European heritage.

A mix of east and northern European descent can also be teased out by the breakdown.

The project creator himself stated that “the new K13 should be more useful for Central and South Asians than any of the others, because it features new reference samples relevant to them.”

People with Iranian and Turkish ancestry have also given positive reactions.

It can be useful to see other people’s results that are similar to your own, particularly when they describe their heritage. There is a massive number of people posting their K13 results in this thread.

Some posters just give their results with no background. But if you trawl through the pages, you’ll find examples where people give a rundown of their known ancestry.

Interpreting Your Eurogenes K13 Oracle Results

We have a tutorial on working with your GEDmatch Oracle results. It uses the Dodecad project in the examples, but the same principles apply here. We also have a video walkthrough if you prefer a visual explanation.

The Eurogenes K13 Spreadsheet

These are the thirteen populations assessed with  the K13 calculator:

North AtlanticBalticSiberianEast MedWest Med
Red SeaOceanianEast AsianWest AsianSouth Asian
Northeast AfricanSub SaharanAmerindian  

Remember, these labels are assigned by the project creator. They may not correspond to current geographical borders.

The Oracle spreadsheet lets you examine how each cluster of DNA samples within the project is aligned with 13 broad populations. Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough of using the Oracle spreadsheets to interpret your results.

The walkthrough uses the Dodecad project as an example. So, I’ll take a look here at some of the K13 populations.

What Is Eurogenes K13 North Atlantic?

The Oracle spreadsheet is available from your K13 results page. To examine the background behind the North Atlantic category, launch the spreadsheet and look across the top row. North Atlantic is actually the first population category you’ll see.

Now, run your eye down the list of reference populations to find the ones with the higher breakdown.

I give some tips in the walkthrough article about copying the GEDmatch spreadsheet to Excel (or Google Sheets etc). Then you can sort the percentages or put a filter on the numbers. But to save you time, let me show you what you’ll get.

Here are the DNA groups that are over 50% North Atlantic:

  • Danish
  • French Basque
  • Irish
  • North Dutch
  • Norwegian
  • Orcadian
  • Southeast English
  • Southwest English
  • West Scottish

What Are Eurogenes K13 East Med And West Med?

I used a filter of 50% to isolate out the reference populations that were most “North Atlantic”. You have to experiment with these numbers because only one DNA group of over 200 in the calculator has over 50% East Med affinity.

I dropped the percentage down to 40% to get this list of DNA groups under East Mediterranean:

  • Cyprian
  • Iranian_Jewish
  • Jordanian
  • Kurdish_Jewish
  • Lebanese_Christian
  • Lebanese_Druze
  • Palestinian
  • Samaritan
  • Saudi
  • Yemenite_Jewish

And what about West Med? This broad population is less represented across the DNA samples. I had to drop the filter to 30% to get these three DNA groups under West Mediterranean:

  • French_Basque
  • Sardinian
  • Southwest_French

What Is Eurogenes K13 Amerindian?

When the project creator rolled out the K13 and K15 projects, he noted that they included “an Amerindian component and five native reference populations from North and Central America.

There are four reference populations in the K13 spreadsheet that have over 70% of the Amerindian category.

  • Karitiana
  • Mayan
  • North Amerindian
  • Pima

The Karitiana cluster of DNA matches is very close to 100% Amerindian. These are an indigenous people of Brazil. The DNA samples come from the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP) run out of Stanford University.

Davidski mentioned five native populations from North and Central America. East and West Greenland measure at 42% and 37% Amerindian respectively.

GEDmatch Eurogenes K15 Calculator

The official name of this calculator is the Eurogenes Eutest V2 K15. Davidski, the project creator, wrote that it was “essentially an upgraded version of the Eutest”.

The Eutest is still available within this project, but you should stick with this one or the K13.

Who Gets Most Benefit From K15 Results?

This calculator is very similar to the K15 version, and also suits people with east and north European heritage.

The two extra reference populations are “Eastern Euro” and “Atlantic”, which refine these European regions even further.

The calculator also may work well for people with central or eastern Asian heritage.

There is a lengthy thread on an anthropology forum where people post the K15 results.

The most useful offerings are where posts give their known ancestry. If you’re really interested in a set of results that are close to your own but there are no extra details, remember that the posters may have had extensive discussions using older calculators. If you search on their user name, you’ll probably find their first calculator results with a bit more background.

Interpreting Your Eurogenes K15 Oracle Results

Our tutorial on working with your GEDmatch Oracle results uses the Dodecad project, but it applies to all the calculators that have an Oracle utility.

The Eurogenes K15 Spreadsheet

These are the fifteen populations included in the K15 calculator:

North SeaBalticSiberianEast MedWest Med
Red SeaOceanianEast AsianWest AsianSouth Asian
Northeast AfricanSub SaharanAmerindianAtlanticEastern Euro

The “Atlantic” and “Eastern Euro” populations are the extra two when compared to the K13 calculator.

But that’s not the only difference. There’s been some shuffling and modifying of the similarly named populations in the K13 version.

If you want to take a closer look at the clusters of DNA samples that align with these populations, we have a walkthrough of using the Oracle spreadsheets.

I analyzed some of the populations in the section in this article on K13. Here, I’ll describe a K15 example.

What Is Eurogenes K15 North Sea?

You use the Oracle spreadsheet to examine which DNA groups are most representative of a population. The K15 calculator results page has the Oracle button to launch the spreadsheet.

To evaluate the North Sea component, you’ll find it in the first column of the spreadsheet.

The DNA group within this calculator with the highest North Sea percentage is the West Norwegian cluster. I copied the Oracle spreadsheet to Excel (see a tutorial here) and put a filter on the percentages.

Below are the groups with over 30% breakdown.

  • Danish
  • Irish
  • North Dutch
  • North German
  • North Swedish
  • Norwegian
  • Orcadian
  • Southeast English
  • Southwest English
  • Swedish
  • West German
  • West Norwegian
  • West Scottish

A quick look at the filtered results shows that the Atlantic category is the next highest category for each of these groups. Which raises the question as to whether these really should be two separate groups.

That’s the difficulty with raising the K number: the results become more refined but with a lower confidence level (i.e. less accurate).

GEDmatch Eurogenes Jtest

The Eurogenes Jtest is one of the first two Eurogenes calculators added to GEDmatch back in 2012. The idea was to test for Jewish components within your DNA results.

My most important point is: don’t use this Jtest.

This was what the project creator himself, Davidski, had to say about it in 2018.

This test was only supposed to be a fun experiment…And even as fun experiments with ADMIXTURE go, it’s now horribly outdated.

Davidski, Eurogenes Blog

This is the only time I’ve seen a project creator come back years later and caution people about an outdated calculator. So, heed the warning!

GEDmatch Eurogenes Eutest

The Eurogenes Eutest is basically the Jtest without the Jewish component. It was one of the two original Eurogenes calculators from 2012. As the name suggests, the aim was chiefly to explore ancient European ancestry.

The project creator worked for several more years on adding further GEDmatch calculators with a strong interest in European ancestry. Each iteration would tweak the parameters and algorithms. He also had more DNA samples offered by volunteers.

I suggest you avoid this early version and look at some alternatives. I’ll come to the successors to the Eutest after a look at Farmers and Hunter Gatherers.

Eurogenes Hunter Gatherer Vs Farmer

The time frame that we’re dealing with here is the 7th Millenium BC, which is seven thousand years BC to 6001 BC.

If your immediate thought is that this too long ago to be of interest to you, then skip right on to the next section. Still interested? Let’s get into the basics.

At a point in the 7th millennium BC, we assume that most of Europe is made up of scattered Hunter Gatherer communities. Were these HG groups descended from a single population or several distinct groups? That is a matter of debate and investigation informed by new discoveries of ancient human remains.

In the mid-7th Millenium BC, farming was introduced to southeastern Europe by people or peoples migrating from Anatolia. The Anatolian region in modern times is the meeting point of Europe and Asia in what is now Turkey.

Was it one or more groups of Farmers who came in through northwestern Anatolia and settled in southeast Europe? Again, this is under continual research. But we know that Farmers spread through the rest of Europe.

So does this very simplified paleolithic/neolithic history lesson tie in with the Eurogenes calculator? The reference populations for this calculator include four distinct Farmer groups, six Hunter Gatherer groups, and a couple of other communities.  

Ancient Reference Populations

Always remember that the labels are assigned by the project creator:

  • Anatolian Farmer
  • Mediterranean Farmer
  • East Asian Farmer   
  • Middle Eastern Herder   
  • Baltic Hunter Gatherer
  • South American Hunter Gatherer
  • South Asian Hunter Gatherer
  • North Eurasian Hunter Gatherer
  • Oceanian Hunter Gatherer
  • Pygmy Hunter Gatherer
  • East African Pastoralist
  • Bantu Farmer

Are your results showing genetic affinity with different mesolithic and neolithic groups? That would be fascinating!

However, I advise you not to pay much attention to this calculator. I mentioned ongoing research, which has been fuelled by archaeological discoveries through the last decade (the 2010s). This calculator dates to 2012, before the discovery of several ancient samples and the development of improved archaic DNA extraction.

For example, you don’t see Caucasus Hunter Gatherers in the list because the tool pre-dates that research.

If you’re interested, I suggest you try the more recent PuntDNAL K12 Ancient calculator. It includes later archaic discoveries than the Eurogenes version.

And if you’re looking for reading material on current research, I’ll give you a good launch point. You probably don’t have access to the Nature Journal, but the full preprint is available here. I’ll also point out that this research paper dates back to 2017, and discoveries are still moving the field forward.

Eurogenes K9 Admixture

Both the K9 calculators show the disadvantages of a smaller number of populations.

The K9 results lump most of Europe into one “North European” community. People with Italian or Iberian heritage are surprised to see high percentages of North European with these calculators.

However, if you want to see the results of other people using this calculator, I’ll give you a couple of forum threads:

Eurogenes K9b – Not For Admixture

The calculator wasn’t made for the usual purposes of admixture breakdown. It was modeled to simulate a DNA test called Geno 2.0 (now discontinued).

One of the unfortunate aspects of Eurogenes is that the project creator has deleted a lot of his early blog posts about the calculators. However, I resorted to the Wayback machine to find the background here.

For various reasons I don’t have a very high opinion of the Geno 2.0 autosomal test…However, I just quickly put together a K=9 test that roughly approximates the Geno 2.0 analysis.

Davidski, deleted post

So, I think we can safely ignore this calculator.

Eurogenes K10, K11, K12, and K12b

As mentioned, none of these calculators have a reference spreadsheet available.

K10, K11, and K12 lump all of Africa into one West African population.

Many Europeans were surprised to see “North American Indian” turn up in their results. There was similar confusion over a “Volga Ural” community in the K11 and K12 calculators.

Here are some forum threads with people posting their results with these calculators.

  • K10 forum results here
  • K10 and K11 forum results here
  • K11 and K12 forum results here
  • K12b forum results here

Eurogenes Versus Dodecad

The creator of the Dodecad project, Dienekes, made his calculator software freely available to others. The Eurogenes project used modified versions of the Dodecad utility, as did the other projects on GEDmatch.

Yet, the Eurogenes and Dodecad creators got into heated online arguments over the years about the use and interpretation of each others’ results.

And both men leveled serious charges about the credibility of each others’ methodology and calculators. If you want to read some of the flame war, this is Davidski’s argument and this is Dienekes rebuttal.

I mention it here because they can’t both be right. But they could both be wrong. I find that the double-spiderman meme sums things up perfectly.

spiderman pointing at spiderman

Other GEDmatch Admixture Projects

We have a detailed explanation and tutorial on other GEDmatch Projects:

I’ve also put together a glossary of abbreviations used in the GEDmatch admixture projects.

Researching More Recent Ethnicity

If you’re interested in researching your recent ethnic heritage, then you should look at alternatives to the GEDmatch projects.

If you’re an Ancestry customer, then we have an article on interpreting Ancestry ethnicity estimates. Their ethnicity breakdown may also be questionable, but their “genetic communities” are very accurate for my own Irish heritage.

Aside from that, you could check out the new genetic groups on MyHeritage. This also shows geographic regions based on your DNA matches. I found it just as accurate as Ancestry for my Irish lines.

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7 thoughts on “Eurogenes On GEDmatch (Explained For Beginners)”

  1. Where can I find out what each of the Eurogenes populations indicate? I am especially interested in finding out what categories are attributed to Native American ethnicity and what period of time they represent.

    Reply
    • It’s not always easy. You need to check the Oracle spreadsheets to see the details entered by the project creator.
      Unfortunately, there is an issue with some of the Eurogenes projects which don’t have a spreadsheet. I’ve noted those in the article, so they’re best avoided.
      I’ve got a separate tutorial on interpreting the Oracle spreadsheets – hope that helps.

      Reply

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