The GEDmatch Gedrosia Project (Explained For Beginners)

GedrosiaDNA is one of the more recent projects on GEDmatch. The project creator included archaic DNA samples in his calculators that weren’t available to other projects. The GEDmatch Gedrosia project is very focused on Eurasian heritage.

Origins Of The GedrosiaDNA Project

The GedrosiaDNA project on GEDmatch was created by Dilawer Khan, who has a particular interest in ancient Eurasian ancestry.

Unlike the earlier GEDmatch projects, this one doesn’t have a dedicated website. However, Khan launched his calculators with dedicated threads on the Anthrogenica forum where his moniker is Kurd.

As Kurd, he answers a lot of questions and provides commentary on people’s results. This will be very interesting if you have similar results as appear on the threads. I’ll give direct links for each calculator through the rest of this article.

When I was researching this series on the GEDmatch projects, I found the backgrounds of the project creators very enlightening. In this case, Kurd has a high Balochi (Gedrosian) heritage.

It’s important not to confuse the GEDmatch projects with large academic genome projects that aim for some degree of “worldwide” applicability. I’ve found Kurd to be the most upfront about this in his commentary about his calculators. He’s very clear about his focus.

Understanding The Project Populations

It’s important to remember that the project creators assign the names to the calculator populations. These names may or may not correspond to academic usage.

We discuss the K12 calculator in detail in the next section. But I want to use one of its populations as an example of how to figure out what each means. At first glance, I had no idea what “SINTASHTA_STEPPE_HERDERS” referred to. Sure, there are online articles about a middle bronze-age community in what is now modern Russia. But what does it mean in the context of the Gedrosia calculator?

This is what the calculator spreadsheet is for. Each spreadsheet shows the reference data for this particular calculator. We have a tutorial that goes into detail on using the Oracle spreadsheet. The tutorial works with the Dodecad project, but the concepts apply to all the spreadsheets.

A Gedrosia Example

I’ll walk through SINTASHTA_STEPPE_HERDERS as an example here.

It’s theeighth population listed across the top row of the calculator spreadsheet. You then run your eye down the DNA groups on the left, looking for the higher percentages.

Our tutorial shows you how to copy the GEDmatch display to a proper spreadsheet, like Excel. This makes it easier to see what’s going on. With Excel, I can put a filter on rows with a percentage above fifty percent.

The population peaks at 99.99% in two groups named BA_Sintashta and Corded_Ware_LN. Experience tells me that these will be specific archaic DNA samples. A bit of internet searching tells me that the latter remains were found in an archaeological site in Esperstedt, Germany.

And these are the other groups above 50%:

  • Estonian
  • Lithuanian
  • Russian
  • Finnish
  • Norwegian

So, if your results show significant percentages for this population – the spreadsheet will give you more insight as to why.

Now, let’s take a deeper dive into the three calculators within this project.

GEDmatch Gedrosia K12 Calculator

The Gedrosia K12 calculator is aimed at people who are primarily of  South and West Asian heritage. And it’s even more specific than that:

I optimized the calculator for individuals of predominately South Asian and West Asian ancestry for inferring gedrosian Balochi admixture.

Kurd, GedrosiaDNA project creator

The calculator uses twelve populations to analyze your DNA. Here is the list:

BalochiSouth IndianSouth West AsianSouth East Asian
Sintashta Steppe HerdersIndo TibetanCaucasusEarly European Farmers
West SiberiaEast SiberiaEast AfricanSub-Saharan

Balochi heritage

Using the spreadsheet, we see that three groups peak for the Balochi population:

  • Balochi
  • Brahui
  • Makrani

In modern geographic terms, this may cover regions of Pakistan, eastern Afghanistan, and Iran.

If you’ve used the HarappaWorld calculator, you may have noticed that “Baloch” is one of its sixteen populations. And you also may notice that you get a higher Balochi score there than here.

Kurd provides an interesting commentary in the Anthrogenica thread. He notes that the HarappaWorld population includes additional South Indian components, which account for the extra percentages.

As far as Kurd is concerned, his Gedrosia calculator is a better indication of “true” ancient Balochi heritage.

Results For Western And Northern European Heritage

This calculator isn’t aimed at you! There just aren’t that many relevant DNA samples in the reference populations.

But these calculators always try to fit your admixture into the nearest appropriate population. There’s a Norwegian sample that seems to hoover up Northern European heritage.

As there’s not much DNA representation for Western Hunter Gatherers, West Europeans will probably get a higher Steppe Herder percentage than they should.

GEDmatch Gedrosia K3

There are only three populations in this calculator: East Eurasian, West Eurasian, and Sub Saharan.

When I first looked at this calculator, I couldn’t see the point of it. I mean, a three-way breakdown is very limited. But when I had a look at the creator’s forum thread on Anthrogenica, I realized that he brought it out due to popular demand!

I put together a K3 calculator, since members have indicated that they would like to see an E Eurasian/ W Eurasian calculator.

Kurd, GedrosiaDNA project creator

So, that’s it. The Sub Saharan component is there to draw the non-Eurasian admixtures away from the other two. The goal of this calculator is to show people of Eurasian heritage whether their ancient ancestry is more East or West.

Southern Europeans may see the Sub Saharan component grab more of your admixture than it should.

Gedrosia K3 Oracle

You may notice that the Oracle results are a little funky. Because there are only three populations, some of the outputs have been disabled. They’ll show up as zero.

GEDmatch Gedrosia K6 Ancient Eurasia

This calculator has six reference populations:

Ancient North EurasianAncient South EurasianEast Asian
West European Hunter GathererNatufianSub Saharan

The advantage of this calculator is that it uses archaic DNA samples that weren’t available to the earlier projects on GEDmatch. Three studies were published in 2016 which brought more ancient samples into the public domain.

If you take a look at the spreadsheet, you’ll notice that the list of DNA groups isn’t very long. Part of the problem of archaic DNA samples is that there aren’t that many.

So, the project creator used his own techniques to “clone” some of the samples. For example, the Ancient North Eurasian population only had three DNA samples. Kurd cloned them to beef up the cluster for the calculations. That’s a bit ropey!

As always, take the results with a bucket of salt. But you find it interesting to compare them with the Eurogenes calculators that focus on archaic samples. Remember, the Eurogenes calculators didn’t have more recent archaic DNA discoveries.

Other GEDmatch Admixture Projects

Here are our articles on the other GEDmatch admixture projects:

More Articles And Tutorials

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Margaret O'Brien
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