A good friend once likened me to this Time Magazine cover. And I myself have often wondered about my ancestry. It is not obvious when people look at me, as I look very much like many different people from around the world. So, my Christmas present this year was a DNA test. The results?
My particular mix does not match the representative population samples within the Indian subcontinent, which don't exhibit the high Mediterranean and Northern European components. Nor does it match the Persian sample, which lacks the Southeast Asian. However, when you mix the Western Indian and Persian together... voila! Salma is born!
So, who knew that a culturally Pakistani-British-American-Hoosier gal is ethnically half-Indian, half-Persian with a little bit of European flair. I always suspected that was the case, and the DNA proves it.
Now, Native American??? According to the Genographic Project: "The % Native American actually reflects the fact that the ancestors of today’s Native Americans came from Asia, and reveals that there are still genetic patterns that they share from thousands of years ago." This is not on average part of the Indian dataset, but it is found in people of Siberia and Mongolia with higher frequency.
In the end, it is not at all surprising to find out that the reason I look like many people around the world is that, in fact, I share DNA markers with many people around the world. But it is surprising to find out about the Native American. Didn't see that one coming!
For more information about how you can find out about your own history through genetic analysis, check out National Geographic's Genographic Project!