Reading DNA test results

Reading DNA test results
by Jahanshah Javid

I've been getting my DNA test results in bits and pieces. Remember I did the test? Companies like Family Tree DNA claim they can dig up your ancestral background.

Well, so far I haven't learned much. I mean there's a lot of information but I'm not sure how relevant it is. For one thing, the test show almost no genetic links in Iran. I'm three-quarters Iranian (Iranian father, half-Iranian half-American mother). So how is that possible? The only explanation is that the genetic pool available to the testers does not include many Iranians to compare their DNA to mine.

The tests show I have "full genomic sequence" matches with individuals in Ireland, England, Germany and Norway. (My maternal grandmother's family came from Ireland and England and settled in Idaho some 200 years ago.) I see in the test results that there are also lots of Ashkenazi connections here and there in Europe. (There are no Jews in our family background that I know of.)

You're welcome to take a look at the results. Maybe there are genetic experts among you who can figure some of it out and give a summary of the main findings. Go here and type in kit number 178026 and password BD2226.

I would not recommend this test to Iranians. It's best for those with European backgrounds.

PS: The contact info on my account has been changed for privacy :)


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Shazde Asdola Mirza

"Caspian refugium"

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Is that another name for Rashti?

Anonymous Observer

Thanks for the explanation IranianDNAadmin

by Anonymous Observer on

now it makes sense.  I thought that there must have been a mistake somewhere because the results did not make sense at all.  I look nothing like those people!

And also, thanks for your efforts. 


Your results

by IranianDNAadmin on

Anonymous Observer,

The Genographic Project is very outdated and many of its' conclusions are no longer valid.

Concerning your lineage (R1b1), the Genographic Project stated it existed in Europe since the Mesolithic period, where European Cro-Magnon men re-populated the continent after the last glacial maximum (LGM) from an Iberian refugium. 

Years after this conclusion was made, genetic genealogists have confirmed that the predominant subclade of R1b in Europe (R1b1b2, marked by the SNP M269) was most diverse from the southeast and entered Europe through Turkey roughly 6,000 years ago.

Haplogroup R1b itself is now believed to have originated somewhere around Iran or the Caucasus, in what some genealogists refer to as the "Caspian refugium" during one of the ice ages.

Haplogroup R1b, in various forms, makes up a fair percentage of Iran's Y-DNA lines and is more common in the west of the country. There is an R1b1b2a Iranian in my project and I am acquainted with a Khuzestani who is also R1b1b2. Your paternal ancestry is, therefore, most likely native to Iran and has been so for hundreds of years.

Anonymous Observer


by Anonymous Observer on

I did the National Geographic Genographic project test, and my Y chromosome result showed (if I remember correctly) that I was R1b1, belonging to the European subgroup.  The video that came on after I punched in my code said that this haplogroup is most common in France and Northern Britain.  Is that correct?  If so, there must be some mistake.  My origins are in the Fars province.  How can I possibly be a part of that group?   


Your results

by IranianDNAadmin on

How would you describe JJ's phenotype? I admit to being fairly adequate with physical anthropology as well.

However, a person's Y-DNA or mtDNA (particularly from regions as diverse as Iran) tend to have no bearing on their phenotype as it is expressed through autosomal DNA.

That being said, individuals from restricted communities will develop a certain set of features if isolated for long enough.

Sargord Pirouz

This is adventitious, I

by Sargord Pirouz on

This is adventitious, I concede, but JJ's phenotype appears consistent, perhaps, with his Y-DNA results.


Your results

by IranianDNAadmin on

I managed to take a look at your results, JJ. As far as I can tell, you have only tested your Y-DNA and mtDNA (inherited directly from deep paternal and maternal ancestors respectively). I will break down your results for you.

JJ's Y-DNA: Haplogroup Q*-M242
Your deep paternal ancestor originally lived in Central Asia tens of thousands ago. Most likely his line was passed down to you through generations of gradual expansion and movement in all directions from the point of origin (demic diffusion).
You do not belong to the Y-DNA Q lineage that is typically found in Iran, the Near-East or among Mongolians or Turks, for that matter. Your line is known as a paragroup in genetic genealogy; a line from haplogroup that isn't as common as others. That is why you have a little asterisk beside it, as it does not belong to Q1. FTDNA have confirmed you are Q* and nothing else with its' "SNP backbone" programme.
Your matches are, as one would expect from such a rare lineage, low resolution and spread across Eurasia (from France to Japan in your case). Indeed, they acquired their Y-DNA much the same way you did (demic diffusion).
I have just entered all your markers into the SMGF database; a huge archive of genetic data with thousands upon thousands of results from all around the world. Your closest match was a Jordanian at 18/25 markers. This is a slightly higher resolution match than what you've been getting from FTDNA's internal database, but it is not a close match by any stretch!
Based on your results, it is very likely your ancestors were in Iran long before the Turko-Mongol incursions began. The slightly elevated match with Jordan implies your ancestors were in the Middle-East for thousands of years.

In short, you belong to a very unique lineage from your father's side that most probably predates the Iranian genesis into the plateau.

I have made note of your maternal haplogroup and will offer an informative breakdown once everyone's had the time to process your very special results.

I would be very pleased if you considered joining the Iranian Y-DNA project. As you are an FTDNA customer, it is completely free;


The project requires its' users to state their earliest paternal ancestor's ethno-linguistic identity. If you do decide to join but aren't comfortable sharing it publicly, please feel free to send me a quick private message.


Ashkenazi and other issues

by IranianDNAadmin on

Not a problem at all, JJ. I will examine your results once FTDNA has completed their maintannence (currently down).
However, I'd advise you to change your password as soon as possible. Your login information is freely available online and several pieces of personal data are automatically listed on your FTDNA profile.

Regarding the Ashkenazi matches; given their endogamous (i.e. tight-knit) family structure and preeminence in the United States, people of European ancestry (such as yourself) usually score well with them. This simply means you share some European ancestry with them, as opposed to Jewish.

I'd also like to add a rebuttal against Ali P.'s point concerning Iran's genetic landscape.
While Iran is a linguistically diverse nation, it is surprising to note that Iranians form a tighter genetic cluster with one another than Assyrians, Armenians or Turks do.
Together with a close Assyrian-Iranian associate of mine, we compared Iranians, Assyrians, Armenians and Anatolian Turks, five each of "pure" stock, against a static set of European, Asian and Near-Eastern samples based on 23andMe's Compare Genomes feature.
We discovered the Iranians did not overlap with the others, but they (Assyrians, Armenians, Turks) all did with each other. We also concluded Iranians were genetically the least similar to Europeans and other Near-Easterners, which is in line with history, as Persia was never conquered by the Roman (and later Byzantine) empire. Thus, gene flow from Europe to Iran was never consistent at any point in history.
The Iranians used for ths comparison were of the following backgrounds;
- Azeri-Iranian (north of Tabriz) and Persian (Tehran)
- Azeri-Iranian (unknown)
- Persian (Tehran, possible Azeri roots)
- Lori, Gilaki, Persian
- Khuzestani, Tehrani

Despite the diverse sample backgrounds, the Iranian intra-group closeness was greater than the Assyrian, Armenian or Turkish ones.

Furthermore, I'd like to add that autosomal genetic testing can confirm or deny oral traditions that may exist in an Iranian's family.
My motivation to research genetic genealogy came from a family tree my late grandfather produced, where he determined we were "Iranians from outside Iran" and came from further north in the Caucasus.
Not only do we carry a Y-Chromosome that is found more frequently in Ossetians, Georgian Kurds, Mazandaranis, Balochis, Uzbek Tajiks and Shugnani Tajiks, but I match North Caucasians (Adyghe and Circassians) far better than other Iranians. Clearly, my family's oral tradition was a tangible fact, not fable.

For this reason - An admittedly selfish one! - I encourage all Iranians who are interested to learn the truth about their deep roots to contact me if there's even a flicker of interest. 

Jahanshah Javid

Iranian DNA

by Jahanshah Javid on

Thanks Arash at Iranian Y-DNA Project admin. Thanks for the explanation. You can see my test results. I have provided my password and username in my blog. You are welcome to take a look.


Clarity regarding results

by IranianDNAadmin on

Dear JJ,

I am the administrator of the Iranian Y-DNA Project at Family Tree DNA.

Your first post does not reveal much about the tests you have taken so far. One of the users stated you belong to Y-DNA haplogroup Q. As far as I can gather, you must have also taken the full-genomic DNA test, made evident by the matches you have with Europe.

Your lack of Iranian matches is explained by the lack of Iranians. It's as simple as that. The majority of customers tend to be middle-class European Americans. I am not familiar with FTDNA's autosomal DNA services, but am a customer of 23andMe's, where there are currently well over 40 Iranians already registered and sharing genomes.

Y-DNA haplogroup Q is not necessarily Central Asian. Most of the haplogroup Q observed in Iran belongs to two distinct subclades;
Q1a2*-M25 and Q1b-M378. Q1a2* appears to be distinctly Near-Eastern and has been observed in
Turkey and Lebanon. Q1b was found in Pakistan, as well as in Ashkenazi
In contrast, Altaic speakers (Koreans, Hazaras and Dungans) were found to carry Q1a1-M20.

I stress skepticism in reading material on haplogroup Q from unlisted sources (such as Internet forums) as the lineage is erroneously listed as "Altaic/Turkic", particularly by revisionist Pan-Turanist Turks.

I am interested in learning more about your case and would appreciate details. 

Should anyone wish to contact me concerning my work as administrator or enquire about testing, please contact me at dmxx [underscore] dna [at] hotmail [dot] [co] [dot] [uk].

Best wishes,

- Iranian Y-DNA Project admin


I used 

by Goosfand on

I used  and got the break down of DNA which is much easier to follow for an average person without any knowledge of DNA stuff.  They narrowed me down to neareast.

This one however is difficult to comprehend.


If you paid with Credit Card, then dispute the charge

by i_support_khamenie on


because the product delivered did not match product promised.

You will get your money back.

Think of it as my gift to you. Now go and enjoy a Sushi meal with that money and say Zendebad ISK.

Ali P.


by Ali P. on

Most of us have Greek, Arab, Mongolian, Russian, Pakistani or Turkish genes in our DNA.


Not sure if it is a bad thing.  As a nation, we are generally healthy and cute ;-)

What if you didn't have any of those "impurities"? How sexy would it be today, walking on the beach, looking like a Hakhamaneshi soldier?

Nader Vanaki

آقای جی جی

Nader Vanaki

حالا بیا و راستش رو بگو، نکنه دست گلی به آب دادی و گرفتار شدی؟


جهانگرد جاوید!


Let your genes do the walking.

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

The result of my test will be very very intresting ! you know why !

Sargord Pirouz

Where is the confusion,

by Sargord Pirouz on

Where is the confusion, JJ?

Don't concentrate on the "Matches" section. The database is extremely small, and it doesn't take into account refined sub-groupings. (Personally, I find this part of the testing package useless). 

It's the Haplogroups that are important, and their geographic origins. Yours conform to your geographically located heritage: Central Asia and SW Asia. There should be no confusion about this.

What's important to know is your maternal grandmother's heritage. Was she Iranian? This is the specific lineage the test traces on your mother's side.

Your father's grouping is dead-on for an Iranian with origins on the Asiatic steppe. We need to know the heritage of your mother's mother to know if this test is tracing the Iranian side or American side, of this part of your family tree. If it's Iranian, this too could conform to your heritage.

There should be no confusion about this, but additional testing would zero in the results even further.



by P_T_B_A on

If you have Ashkenazi connection, you must be related to Ahmadinejad!  LOL!

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

I agree Nazy. Science does not have all the answers. I was just curious what science could deliver but the experience has been far from satisfying. Actually it has caused more confusion :)

Sargord Pirouz

JJ, this is the interesting

by Sargord Pirouz on

JJ, this is the interesting bit from your father's side:

And here is an overview of your father's side Q Group:


A further test could refine this. But your Dad's Q group is Central Asian based. 

Mom's Haplogroup H originates in SW Asia/Middle East:


Is your maternal grandmother Iranian? This is the side that the mtDNA plots. 

So JJ, no real surprises here. Further testing is needed to ascertain the exact sub-groups.

Nazy Kaviani

A Melting Pot For One

by Nazy Kaviani on

Heeh! I'm staying away from this test! I think it would be a very big surprise for my entire tribe if Irish and English blood were to be found in my genes! When I was very young and did not yet have to fight gravity as vigorously as I do now, my eyes actually had a slant which was noticeable. I know that if I dig hard enough, I might find that Mongolian "touch" on my genes! But, really, in the overall scheme of things, Jahanshah, should we care?

The only time I was intrigued about anyone's parentage and genes and cells was when my co-worker who was diagnosed with cancer had to find a bone marrow match and only at that point and at age 53, did his parents tell him that he had been adopted and none of his existing relatives were really his blood relatives.

The one service which is even less valuable than this (sorry!), is the one that does your family tree. I'll stick with the hand-written book of my maternal family which up until a couple of decades ago had manually kept track of who married whom, leading to the names of all the babies in the family! There was some mild drama attached to those names and marriages, too, making it personally interesting to follow. I'll take gossip over science any day!