23andMe Ancestry Genetic Test

Update: 23andMe will be releasing  a new report on Type 2 Diabetes tomorrow as per the latest update from CEO Anne Wojcicki

 

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Set Alert for Product: 23andMe DNA Test Ancestry Personal Genetic Service - includes at-home saliva collection kit - $99.00
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8 Total Score
23andMe Ancestry Genetic Test Review

23andMe is one of the largest genealogy companies in the world with a database of around 1.5 million genomes. They offer various ancestry services such as ancestry composition, Neanderthal composition and DNA Relatives finder

8Expert Score
Customer Service
4.5
Value for Money
7
Clarity of Reports
7.5
Overall Experience
7.5
5.6User's score
Rating
5.6
PROS
  • Large genealogy community
  • Provides Chromosome Browser facility
  • Regular free updates for existing customers
CONS
  • Ancestry results are skewed towards the Western population

 

23andMe Ancestry Genetic Test Review: Summary

I had always been curious about my ancestry; I grew up not knowing anything at all about my father and his side of the family, and next to nothing about my mother’s side. I had been informed about the possibility of Ancestry Testing providing some answers and although I was initially skeptical, I agreed to give it a shot. I found this DNA testing service to be easy to use, straightforward, and ultimately very rewarding in the information it provided. It wasn’t just about providing a result and handwaving the way it was achieved either, I was given a technical but easy to understand breakdown of how the test functioned on a scientific basis, as well as what most of the words and phrases used in the result actually meant, as a lot of it went above my head. It also provided the extremely useful tool to help track down members of my family, which with my background turned out to be a huge blessing.

 

If there was anything I could change about the test, it would be the amount of technical detail included in the results, as it became too complicated to keep track of and understand after some time. Aside from that, the test was quite surprisingly reasonably prized and provided unmeasurable benefits in terms of knowledge and connection to family members.

 

Full Review

DNA testing services grew from a strictly scientific endeavor to be a publicly available tool for the use of regular people who need more information about their ancestry and to track down distant relatives.

 

What I Expected

I went to the website with no expectations at all, dubious about the claims I’d heard about the test somehow being able to trace my lineage from more than 400 years ago with the use of DNA. The website went on to further explain that it was possible to determine the exact region my ancestors originated from – a claim I had heard celebrities talk about on television. The website also offered services to find immediate and distant family, using my DNA to find other people whose genetic material was similar, and an optional service that would enable me send messages to some of them. Needless to say, this struck an immediate cord within me and was probably the main reason I finally let go of all my misgiving and start to believe that the advertised services could be of some benefit to me after all.

I was given information about maternal and paternal haplogroups and told that as a result of me being female, I would be able to trace my maternal ancestry with the use of mDNA (or mitochondrial DNA). I also learned something that was a bit of a bummer; because I female, I would not be able to track down the paternal side of my family using my genetic material.

It is possible, of course, for biological females to still trace their paternal lineage by suing genetic material from any male relatives from my father’s side, but since I had grown up not knowing anything about him or his family and having no link to them, this avenue was effectively blocked.

After reading through and processing the information above, I was directed to a section which explained the process of placing an order, how the kit looked and functioned, how to actually take the samples and send them back – a process I had been dreading but proved to be bloodless as it required only saliva, and how to receive the results.

 

Ordering the 23andMe DNA Test Kit

The process of ordering the testing kit proved to be as easy and stress-free as ordering anything else over the internet – I ordered the test I wanted done (I had an option between the Ancestry test, or a combination of the health and Ancestry tests, I chose to order just the Ancestry test as I wasn’t too certain what the health test entailed). Payment was straightforward too, I made my purchase through PayPal and the sample kit arrived at my doorstep 3 days after.

It is actually important to go through the terms of service as well the privacy policy as there are a number of permissions you need to either grant or reject; most importantly how the information I provide do them would be stored and treated. It gave me a measure of comfort about the confidentiality of the process as well as the safety of the genetic material that I provided.

I sent off the DNA sample in its original box which already had a pre-paid postage stamp attached and waited for the results. It took a total of 5 weeks for my genetic sample to reach the laboratory and for it to be analyzed, during which I was constantly kept in the loop as to the status of my test.

 

My 23andMe Ancestry Results

I felt a bit of trepidation when I finally got the email from the laboratory stating that my results were available, but it was quickly overwhelmed by anticipation. I followed the link to the website which required me to log in to my account in order to view my results – I appreciated this additional bit of security as I didn’t want just anybody tumbling onto information that was very dear to me.

The results were arranged in subsections, each covering different bits of information.

 

Ancestry Composition

This subsection provided a graphical representation of the continents with darker shading over the regions that I had descended from. I found out that I was pure African, but I had a predominantly Nigerian heritage with 70.8 percent Igbo and 12.2 percent Yoruba. I found out, somewhat surprisingly that I also had origins from Northern Africa, 17.0 percent of my genetic material was apparently from Morocco. This was a surprise mostly because I had no visible Northern African features and I was left to wonder about the origin of this particular marker. I suppose it would make a great story to tell my kids.

 

Ancestry Timeline

This subsection provided information about the North African genetic material that had previously confused me; apparently sometime in the 1900s, my Northern African ancestor had swooped in to capture the heart of one of my great grand ancestors and had a kid who would, years down the line, pay for a test to trace down her heritage.

 

DNA Relatives

This was easily the subsection that I had most anticipated reading, and it did not disappoint. First, I had to decide the amount of information that I would be willing to share and then determine if I wanted to let any of my DNA relatives view my details and the results of my test. I was invited to create a profile which contained basic information about myself, which would then be available for my relatives to view.

The results showed that I had 207 relatives on the database, most of whom were in the United States, although several dozen of them lived in the United Kingdom. I found out that my closest relative – whom I shared 20.1 % of my genetic material with, was on the database and lived not too far away, and that I could contact him if I wanted to.

23andMe DNA relatives finder

 

Maternal Haplogroup

As I had previously stated, due to my being a biological female, I couldn’t directly trace the paternal side of my family but I was given some information about the maternal side of my family that surprised me; my branch of haplogroup L2 originated in West Africa and then spread throughout the continent. The test went further to describe the migration of the source of the branch, and when exactly the migration occurred leaving me stunned at the depth of research and attention to detail the test possessed.

 

Conclusion

I found the test to be worth every cent of the price charged. It was easy to use; the instructions provided on the website and in the sample collection kit were very easy to follow. I was assured every step of the way about the confidentiality of the process as well as the scientific basis of each result which provided a lot of authenticity. Most importantly, it helped me connect with family, and for someone like me who grew up not knowing my place in the world, that is a gift worth any price.

 

23andMe DNA Test Ancestry Personal Genetic Service - includes at-home saliva collection kit

23andMe ancestry genetic test is one of the popular product offerings in the consumer genetic testing community

$99.00

23andMe Ancestry Genetic Test

 

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User Reviews

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  1. Rating
    100

    The testing is fairly simple: You receive a test vial (log in and register it on their website) and provide saliva up to the control line. Make sure you don’t eat or drink for 30 to 45 minutes before providing your saliva sample. It is best not to brush teeth beforehand since it will wash away valuable DNA and you want to ensure your sample has enough to process. Yes I had a few failed kits in my life and that set us back months of getting results on those kits. Anyway it’s fairly simple to provide the saliva samples. Simple enough I had my 5 1/2 year old done and she was the easiest one to process. Then you place the kit back into included return envelope and wait for about 6 to 8 weeks for it to process. All while keeping tabs of the process online as each step finishes.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 identity. I sent off for birth and school records but 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 that he was not who he said he was. I had nothing really 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.

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  2. Rating
    100

    My son who is adopted wanted to know his heritage, It was great for him to be able to find information that we were not able to provide him

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  3. Jason A. Michonski June 15, 2017 at 12:00 am
    Rating
    20

    Very vague in broad in genealogy descriptions. I guess I expected a little more for my money

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  4. Rating
    20

    23andMe deleted 7000 SNPs from their raw data, so this kit is now useless to me. I would love to return it, but Amazon is not giving me that option.

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  5. Rating
    20

    It’s not specific enough. It says I’m south East Asian but I thought it would go into detail like what kind. And then a part of me was “broadly European” which doesn’t say much. What a waste of money.

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  6. Rating
    20

    Unfortunately 23Nd me changed which data they now send you but didn’t bother to let people know ahead of time. They removed a large part of the mthfr snps. Super irritated as this is why I used 23and me! There are other companies that will send you this data. Go there!!!

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  7. Rating
    100

    Excellent, accurate, insightful…I bought the kit because my son is adopted and then I thought, what the hell, I’ll do my own because I’d like to know how our DNA compares. I was fascinated by our ethnic compositions and was quite pleased to find that we are both 40% Italian and have similar percentages of other shared heritage. AND because my sister got her results right after me, I also found out that she is in fact my HALF SISTER and that the man who I had known as my father for 44 years is not my father and that my mother had an affair way back when. My siblings are my half-siblings and I may never know who my father is (thanks Mom). Better to know the truth about yourself than to live in darkness. Now begins the journey of finding the missing pieces to my personal puzzle.

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  8. Rating
    20

    So I bought this product back in November 30th as a gift for my sister. She was very excited when she received it and immediately send her saliva sample tube, well it’s been four months and she never got her results!! According to them she didn’t have enough dna! So they send her another kit she sends them her saliva sample again (she was very careful to do things right) and still NOTHING no results. They tell her yet again she doesn’t have enough dna. So they asked her if she would like a refund she said yes this was back in April 9 and she hasn’t heard from them again!!She send them the Amazon order ID number just like they asked…so what happened?

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  9. 4.15
    Customer Service
    100
    Value for Money
    80
    Clarity of Reports
    70
    Overall Experience
    80

    Great! Loved It!

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