23andMe DNA Test - Ancestry Service - Ethnic Composition, DNA Relatives, Neanderthal Ancestry, Maternal + Paternal Haplogroup Reports
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How It Works
You order your kit online.
Follow kit instructions to spit in the tube provided — all from home. Register your saliva sample tube using the barcode so we know it belongs to you, and mail it back to our lab in the pre-paid package.
In approximately 6 to 8 weeks, we will send you an email to let you know your reports are ready in your online account. Log in and start discovering what your DNA says about you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are 23andMe's ancestry features different from other ancestry services?
Some ancestry services are records-based, which means that they help you search historical records such as birth, death and marriage certificates, to trace your lineage. 23andMe offers genetics-based ancestry reports and tools, which means that we analyze your DNA to trace your lineage.
With 23andMe, you can look deeper into your personal history to learn what percentage of your DNA comes from populations around the world, find your DNA relatives, learn about your matrilineal and patrilineal ancestors and even see if some of your DNA comes from Neanderthals.
How large is the 23andMe DNA database?
The 23andMe DNA database has more than one million genotyped customers worldwide. You may continue to find new relatives as our database grows over time.
What should I consider when opting in to DNA Relatives?
Many people benefit from finding new family members – from those who fill in details of their family trees to adoptees who find their biological family.
If you opt in to the DNA Relatives tool, you will be able to send and receive invitations to connect with other customers who share DNA with you. You can choose whether to respond to these invitations or not, and your DNA relatives have the same choice. We cannot guarantee that they will respond to your sharing invitations or messages. Regardless of whether you both agree to share, you will be able to see their birthplace, locations of their ancestors, surnames and family tree URL, if they have chosen to add this information to their profile. If you both accept sharing invitations or participate in open sharing, you will be able to see ancestry reports and overlapping chromosome segments. If you opt in to open sharing, you will be able to see Relatives In Common, as well as whether you are likely to carry an identical DNA segment, indicating a common ancestor.
In some cases, participation in DNA Relatives may reveal that you are related to someone unexpected, or that you are not related to someone in the way that you expected. Consider this before you opt in to this feature.
Do men and women receive different information from 23andMe?
Your ancestry results are based on a few different types of DNA—DNA inherited from both of your parents (chromosomes 1-22), the sex chromosomes (X and Y chromosomes) and mitochondrial DNA.
You inherit autosomal DNA from both parents, half from each parent, so it reflects recent ancestry from both sides of your family tree. Almost all of our features, including our Ancestry Composition report and DNA Relatives tool, are based on autosomal DNA together with the X chromosome.
Haplogroups are a different story. Your maternal line haplogroup assignment is derived from a separate piece of DNA called mitochondrial DNA. Since mitochondria are passed on only by mothers to both male and female children, your maternal line haplogroup assignment only tells you about one of your ancestral lines, through your mother, her mother, and so on. Similarly, the paternal line haplogroup assignment is derived from a different, separate piece of DNA called the Y chromosome. The Y chromosome, which only males have, is passed only from fathers to sons and traces only one ancestral line, through a male’s father, his father’s father, and so on. Haplogroups are pointers to a geographic areas of the world where that haplogroup is found in high frequency.
Some genetic ancestry services provide only autosomal DNA analysis or charge you separately for the maternal and paternal haplogroup information. 23andMe includes all of these.
How do I receive my reports?
Our service is exclusively online. You'll receive your reports through a password-protected account at 23andme.com, and you'll have access to additional web-based tools and features.
In order to receive reports and participate in the service, you need to have a valid email address that allows you to send and receive messages. You also need access to a computer or mobile device that connects to the Internet.
Why do I need to register my kit?
You need to register your kit in order to link it to your 23andMe account online. Registration connects the barcode on your saliva sample to your account so we know your sample belongs to you. Our lab cannot process your sample if it is not registered.
How does my DNA become a report?
Your saliva contains DNA from cells in your mouth. We send you a saliva collection kit and instructions for providing your sample.
Our CLIA-certified lab extracts DNA from cells in your saliva sample. Then the lab processes the DNA on a genotyping chip that reads hundreds of thousands of locations in your genome.
Your genetic data is analyzed, and our automated system generates your personalized reports based on well-established scientific research.
How is my privacy protected?
You choose how your genetic information is used and shared with others. It is important for you to understand how those choices are implemented and how we collect, use and disclose your information.
We will not share your individual-level information with any third party without your explicit consent
We support the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and other similar laws that protect individuals from being discriminated against based on their genetics and will not provide your information or results to employers or health insurance companies
We have guidelines and policies in place to protect the personal information of children as well as incapacitated or deceased individuals
We do not provide information to law enforcement unless we are required to comply with a valid subpoena or a court-ordered request
Learn more by reviewing 23andMe’s Privacy Statement
What is the history of the company?
23andMe was founded in 2006 to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome.
We have more than one million genotyped customers around the world.
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Legal DisclaimerBefore you can use 23andMe and see your reports, you must agree to 23andMe's Terms of Service (23andme.com/tos) at the time of registration of your 23andMe kit. Your use of 23andMe is further subject to 23andMe's Privacy Statement (23andme.com/privacy). For use in the USA only - kits shipped or used outside the US will be invalidated and no refund will be provided. Kits may not be redistributed or resold.
Top Customer Reviews
I have tested both of my parents, my two children, two paternal aunts, my daughter's paternal grandmother as well as myself and two cousins whom I tested to confirm our relationship. If you test at least one parent, you can easily sort matches that are shared with that parent to determine which matches are maternal and paternal. Since both my parents have tested mine literally shows who matches me from each side and my children can sort their matches based on me being tested too.
My paternal grandfather died in 1995 and took with him the secret of his past. He had ran away as a young boy and changed his name so we knew him only by the name he had taken. My family always yearned to know more about my grandfather's past but he had endured some sort of trauma or something and for whatever reason chose to never speak of it again. So we grew up only knowing half my father's ancestry - that of his mother.
After my grandfather died, I set out on a mission to try to figure out more about his past and his identity. I sent off for birth and school records and hit one dead-end after another trying to prove he was who he said he was. I spent hours going over census data on Ancestry's website, writing to courthouses across the country. The evidence pointed to the conclusion he was not who he said he was and so I had nothing solid to go by. Until 17 years into chasing cold trails, I discovered ancestry type DNA testing. I figured it wouldn't hurt to order my dad a kit and see where that would take us. If I could just find one close enough match then maybe it would give us a good lead on figuring out my grandfather's real surname.
After waiting for what seemed like months (it was actually only about 6 weeks) my dad's DNA was online (on 23andme’s secure site) and accessible along with all his many matches - which were basically cousins at various degrees of distance. It was one cousin (a predicted second cousin) in particular that gave me access to their family tree and actually dove in with me searching for clues that would lead us to my grandfather.
Just 6 months into researching my father's DNA, I found my grandfather's family and figured out who he really was. I wanted to ensure that my information was correct and so I contacted the daughters to the man I believed to be my grandfather's brother and offered to test them both. Their test results confirmed they were indeed our 1st cousins. I have since been in contact with close and distant family via this newly discovered paternal side and even obtained a copy of my grandfather's family surname book. His absence was even recorded in the book! I solved an 83+ year mystery and gained a family I longed my entire life to know about. I cannot be more thankful that these tests are available and that it gives us such ability to solve things that seem impossible.
Granted this all sounds way easier than it was and in all honesty it took planning and sorting and meticulous record-keeping to rule out my father's maternal matches. I literally mapped my father's DNA and researched every match labeling in an Excel document, which chromosome location that relative fit and what surnames fit within those matches. It’s given me new found respect and interest in knowing about each and every ancestor that left their mark within our DNA. It’s time-consuming, rewarding and addicting. I can say that with all honesty as I now manage 15+ kits on various DNA websites. I tested myself and both parents on 23andme as well as AncestryDNA and Dad was also tested on FTDNA but I met my most useful matches on 23andme. It was on 23andme that I found the best ability to pour over chromosomes - researching every detail I could.
Oddly between 23andme and Ancestry their tests show a discrepancy in ethnicity estimates. One shows that my dad has a tiny trace of Native American (23andme) yet AncestryDNA does not show any trace whatsoever of Native American. My son has confirmed Native American and was only tested on 23andme and his percentage came back at nearly exact what is on his BIA blood quantum card. So I lean in feeling more comfortable with 23andme’s ethnicity estimates.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: You can take your raw data (once your DNA is processed) and download it from any of these DNA testing sites and upload them to GEDmatch for free. That site allows you to cross compare matches on there from all the DNA sites. As long as others have their data on their too you can look at those matches and even see where the match is on individual chromosomes, etc. It’s a great tool to utilize along with your DNA testing sites.
FINAL THOUGHT: If you are looking to solve a mystery, 23andme is great. If you are looking to just fill in a family tree and you have a paid Ancestry membership or you are willing to pay for it, I would also suggest AncestryDNA. AncestryDNA gives you immediate access to your matches’ trees and you can in turn build on your own tree with the information. But if you are NOT a paid member to Ancestry, their AncestryDNA features are limited. I personally think its poor business practice for Ancestry to force people who already fork over money for the DNA kits to further pay to utilize services that should be totally included within the purchase of the kit. With 23andme, there are no additional hidden usage fees.
Whichever one you choose, be prepared to discover a new you.
I chose this test over DNA Ancestry's because 1) this test gives you insight into your Neanderthal heritage and 2) DNA Ancestry users tell me you have to pay a monthly fee to access your DNA relatives. With 23 & Me you can see, without extra cost, other test user's profiles who share DNA with you. I've been in touch with a few & learned some facts about my history that I didn't know before. I may eventually get DNA Ancestry's test too to compare, but for now, I'm happy with this brand.
There are some major flaws: 1) They don't distinguish between British & Irish, even though other companies do. 2) They used to tell you what percentage of your DNA was Neanderthal, and now they've changed that to stating where you fall compared to other uses (it was better the old way). 3) Results can be a bit vague ("broadly Southern European", for example, instead of more precise regions). 4) They will send you an email coupon for a 2nd test for a family member for $69 plus shipping, but the coupon expires around the same day you get your results, so you barely have time to think about it & decide if it's worth a 2nd time investment.