Home DNA AncestorWhy am I only genetically related to 120 ancestors? – A Segment of DNA
Why am I only genetically related to 120 ancestors? – A Segment of DNA

Why am I only genetically related to 120 ancestors? – A Segment of DNA



In previous videos, Andy mentioned that you are only genetically related to 120 ancestors. In this video, he explains how we may have 3 billion 30th great grandparents but only be genetically related to 120 of them. Get ready to see how science and probability narrow down whose DNA you may have inherited.

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34 thoughts on “Why am I only genetically related to 120 ancestors? – A Segment of DNA

  1. You still haven't entirely explained it. You were doing well until the end, when you jumped into saying that they had run computer simulations and come up with the 120. That's when you lost me. I can see that, with most of our DNA distinguishing our species as humans, it reduces the amount of DNA available to establish individuality. What you're saying is that we receive identical DNA from many people who are not related to each other, so I might be getting the same DNA from one of my ancestors as from many others, but that does not mean that I receive none from them, because if you take out all the ancestors with identical DNA there wouldn't be any DNA left.

  2. You had me until you said that genes themselves are a strict upper limit.

    You have non-coding pairs in your DNA that cause genes to turn on and off (express or not express), called epigenes. There's a whole field of epigenetics, looking at how these work. It's why I had blond hair as a kid and with puberty, my hair changed to be quite dark

    And you inherit that epigenetic material from your parents.

  3. I don't think you understand genetics as much as you think you do lol. This is a complete sack of nonsense. You are related to thousands of your ancestors. If someone thousands of years ago had gene XYZ and that XYZ gene got passed on to the offspring continuously until it reached you, then you are YES related to all those middle men that brought the gene up to your generation, doesn´t make a difference if the gene is unique or not, you are genetically related to all the hundreds or thousands of people who passed it across.

  4. What is your opinion about African Ancestry DNA company. Can an African ethnic group be traced to someone of the African Diaspora. Slavery was less than 500 years ago to date.

  5. So "we don't get our DNA from ALL of our ancestor". Excellent point and interesting. I have often wondered why a person like myself, strongly relates to just one or two parts of my genetic history. I'm English Puritans, Highland Scot and Swedish. Out of all, I always felt "Scottish" – even before I knew my family ancestry. We see it a lot with American Blacks, who have half European and maybe less than 50% Subsaharan African DNA – yet they proudly declare they are "BlacK' – even if they have light skin. What is it that makes us identify with one part of our genes? Perhaps you just gave the answer.

  6. Sorry but it's BS. You have 3 billion base pairs, or is it 6 billion? You got something from virtually everyone in your ancestry it's just not easy to detect.

    You do have fewer ancestors than what you might think because some of them are repeats. You could have Charlemagne twelve times for all you know. If your ancestors lived in a small area a long time you may have a ton of repeats. Sounds gross but that is normal so long as they are far up the chain it's not a problem.

  7. Hi

    120 people works out to be roughly the level of one's great great great great great grandparents. But all things being equal what is the typical distribution of that dna? In other words, on average, how many of my 128 great great great great great grandparents do I inherit dna from and how many do I not? I realise that this will vary but I assume that dna will tend to clump along particular lines.

    Thanks Peter

  8. The question is is that 120 people on your mother's side and your father's side or is that a combine 120 people from both parents? Does than then break down to 60 people from each parent? That is the question which is never answered directly and specifically. If each parent contributes 120 people, then aren't we genetically related to 240 people?

  9. Well, we only get our DNA from our last 120 ancestors. But they got their DNA from their last 120 ancestors, who got theirs from their last 120 ancestors and so on. Wich means that we got our DNA from all of our ancestors, just not directly. We got it directly from our last 120 ancestors, but because they got it from theirs and so on, we do got it from all of our ancestors, just indirectly, through our last 120 ancestors.

  10. One step in reducing the number of ancestors from which we inherit DNA was in treating each of our genes as an indivisible unit. This does not reduce the number of genetic ancestors by a factor of 25,000, since our genes occupy less than 2% of our DNA. The other 98%, the so-called noncoding DNA, does vary between humans and is not subject to this reduction. Is there something I'm missing here?

  11. Even if we only carry the DNA of 128 or 256 people, we're still genetically related to their ancestors, because those 256 people got those traits from somewhere (or rather: someone) before they could pass them on to us. Each and every trait of ours dates back to our most ancient ancestors, and we wouldn't have it, if it weren't for them. What this guy should have said instead, is that we only need to go back 7 generations to find all of our traits.

  12. This vid deserves a standing O. Nice job. Even the comment section is good. I have searched for these things in genealogy and no one seems to be able to explain them at all. Like nothing. I think FHF should make a follow up video and talk about the concerns in the comments. You guys would be on the cutting edge.

  13. My daughter was born with arpkd and I am curious if I can ever find where this recessive gene came from. My parents both are 100% German from Germany. Now deceased.

  14. Although you clearly state at the beginning of this video that it's 120 individuals in any given generation I think a lot of people are mistaking this for 120 individuals in total_. As I understand it (and please correct me if _I am wrong) it means you're genetically related to 120 of your 128 5th great grandparents; but also to 120 of your 256 6th great grandparents, 120 of your 512 7th great grandparents, and so on ad infinitum.

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