23andMe is one of the world’s largest DNA testing services. It allows you to build your family tree, analyze your heritage and ancestry and understand the implications of your DNA on your personal health. 23andMe uses autosomal and mitochondrial DNA testing which is ideal if you want to find out about your ancestry as well as your health. The company dispatches easy-to-use DNA swabbing kits and returns your results in 6 – 8 weeks. The results are detailed and informative and the site is fun to use. 23andMe currently has a database of DNA data for more than 5 million people worldwide and you can decide if you wish to share yours for research purposes. 23andMe’s premium Health + Ancestry Service can identify predispositions for certain illnesses, food intolerances, and allergies and you can find out if you are a carrier for some inherited health conditions.
23andMe will provide you with a regional breakdown of your heritage and ethnicity showing where your ancestors came from and when they entered your family tree. You can choose whether or not to share your DNA, potentially allowing you to make connections with relatives around the world. If you decide to opt into Open Sharing, you can create a profile and share some information about yourself which may allow future site users to make contact with you. The company offers two products. Pricing is clear and straightforward and most users report positive experiences in using the site. 23andMe’s Genetic Health Risk and Carrier Status reports are compliant with current FDA criteria which means that they are scientifically and clinically valid.
Some users complain that 23andMe often takes much longer than 8 weeks to return results. Others report having to resubmit samples after their initial saliva samples were rejected. While the 23andMe website states that it has security measures in place to prevent unauthorized access, it gives no guarantees that it won’t share your information with third parties.
23andMe Bottom Line
23andMe is simple to use and returns results that are detailed, interesting and informative. If you want to understand your ancestry and its impact on your current and future health, this is a great choice. 23andMe divides the globe into 150 regions and will give you a percentage based calculation on which areas your ancestors came from. You can find out how long ago a particular ethnicity entered your family tree and discover whether or not you are related to the Neanderthals. If you’re thinking of starting a family, 23andMe can help you discover if you’re a carrier for some inherited health conditions and can help you identify food intolerances and allergies.
How 23andMe Works
New users sign up online at 23andme.com and start by choosing between the Ancestry report and the Health+Ancestry report. Once you have paid, 23andMe will send a DNA testing kit and instructions to you. You should receive this within 5 days. Follow the instructions and fill the enclosed tube with saliva before returning it to the company in the prepaid package. Roughly 6 to 8 weeks later, you will receive an email from 23andMe letting you know that your report is available to view online. If you’ve chosen the Health+Ancestry report, you’ll be able to choose whether or not to view the results of specific tests as some users prefer not to find out if they are predisposed to certain conditions, particularly those for which there is no current treatment.
What Is DNA Testing?
Your DNA is a hereditary link between you and your ancestors. Half of your DNA is passed down from your father and the other half is from your mother. They, in turn, received their DNA from their parents.
Researchers discovered that DNA could offer a path to trace your family tree. By looking at your genetic code as revealed through testing of your DNA and comparing it to DNA results contained in a database, ancestors with similar genetic makeups can be identified.
When you order a DNA test kit from 23andMe.com, the kit arrives with instructions asking you to provide a saliva sample for analysis. The analysis performed by 23andMe includes genotyping, which identifies variants within your DNA that make you unique from other humans. They focus on the variants by comparing them to information from other testing results contained in their database to prove you with a report identifying similarities with variants in the DNA results in their database.
History Of 23andMe
23andMe is a biotechnology company focusing on genetic testing. It was the first company to offer autosomal testing of DNA samples to identify ancestral links. The name of the company is a reference to the 23 pairs of chromosomes into which all DNA from humans is organized.
In addition to its consumer-based DNA testing, it also conducts research and publishes scientific studies. The vast majority of its research is based upon the DNA samples submitted to it by its more than five million customers, many of whom agreed to participate in the company’s research.
How Easy Is It To Use 23andMe?
Using the company website, 23andMe.com, customers order a saliva collection kit and choose the type of service they want. The company offers ancestry services alone or it can be combined with health screening to give you information about hereditary-based diseases, such as Parkinson’s, revealed by your DNA.
After receiving the test kit, you provide a saliva sample, seal the collection tube and register its barcode identifier by going to 23andMe.com. You then mail the sample back to 23andMe. Reports of the results of the testing are available for you to access within six to eight weeks. Reports are accessed via 23andMe.com.
How Detailed Are The Reports From 23andMe?
A 23andMe ancestry report contains a chart showing ancestry composition with percentages indicating your relationship to ethnic groups around the world. A second chart provides a timeline you use to trace how far back each identified ethnic population match goes.
Included in the ancestry report is a chart showing your 23 chromosomes painted to make it easier to identify each of them from the composition report. This provides you with access to the raw data from which the other segments of the report were prepared.
How Accurate Are 23andMe Tests?
The testing process follows FDA criteria. Ancestry composition percentages provided by 23andMe can be within 0.1 percent because of the system used by the genotyping methods used by the company
How Private Are The Results From 23andMe?
23andMe does not share your genetic information or use it for research without your consent. You have the right to request that your DNA sample be stored or destroyed. Results of DNA testing and other personal information you provide to the company are stored without identifying information.
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