If DNA shows 3.46% American Native, then how far back in generations did it come from?

I am told it was from a 10 generations back.

  • Reporting admixture to two decimal places makes absolutely no sense whatsoever: they're estimated probabilities, for heaven's sake. Which DNA company did this? (As a general rule of thumb across all testing companies, everything below about 5% is probably just noise.)
    – JPmiaou
    Jan 22, 2020 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


You get approximately 1/2 (50%) of your DNA from each parent. They get 50% of their DNA from each of their parents, and so on, which leads to this list:

  • 1 generation back: 50%
  • 2 generations back: 25%
  • 3 generations back: 12.5%
  • 4 generations back: 6.25%
  • 5 generations back: 3.125%
  • 6 generations back: 1.5625%

... and so on.

So, your 3.46% measurement suggests an NA ancestor more recently than 10 generations.

This assumes that we are talking about only one ancestor, and that that ancestor was 100% Native American. (both of which are not really that likely, but a good starting point)

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