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23andMe: Discover Yourself!

Decoding the human genome is the most profound scientific endeavor of our lifetime.

You’ve seen the television commercials which may have piqued your curiosity about getting your own genetic profile. Technology has simplified how every day people can find out about their own genes and chromosomes. Ever wanted to know more about your ancestry? Now you can learn your family bloodline going back generations.

There are over 1,000 genetic tests available today and one of the most popular services is 23andMe. Through their online platform, you can choose their Ancestry Service or get the Health + Ancestry Service for the full experience. Instead of relying on historical records, 23andMe differentiates itself from other services by analyzing genetics-based ancestry reports and tools. They have over five million genotyped customers so far. Take a peek at their short video about the importance of genetics…

Finding Your Ancestry

Covering over 1,000 global ancestry regions, 23andMe provides you with an ancestral regional breakdown by percentages and can connect you with DNA relatives. You can learn about your ancestral origins going back 500 years or more. If you’re curious about a particular region, 23andMe even connects you with Airbnb to experience local culture. Your DNA even speaks to when an ancestor descending from a single population or ethnicity was introduced to your ancestry timeline.

One of the cool reports 23andMe offers shows how many DNA Relatives you have around the world. And if you want, you can opt-in with their tool to find, connect, and message those who share the same DNA as yours. You can explore matches from close family to distant relatives and decide to connect or not.

For something really unique, you can go back thousands of years to find out the origins and movements of your maternal and paternal ancestors.  You receive a report identifying haplogroups, used in anthropology research, which trace ancestry in the distant past. Even cooler, find out how much Neanderthal DNA you may have. That’s right, we all have a little Neanderthal in us. It’s been 60,000 years since they interbred with humans and after 40,000 years, became extinct. Even today, you can trace height and back hair to that Neanderthal relative of yours.

Health + Ancestry

In addition to Ancestry reports, 23andMe gives you a more comprehensive understanding of your genetic makeup. Genetic testing, also known as DNA testing, can produce genetic findings related to inherited diseases. Finding out the results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a genetic condition you suspect you may have. You can even find out the risk of developing or passing on a genetic disorder.

Note that other non-genetic factors can be influential in developing a health condition such as lifestyle and environment and should be considered in addition to a predisposition report.

You receive over 10 health predisposition reports such as:
Type 2 Diabetes
BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants)
Celiac Disease
Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
Parkinson’s Disease

You can learn how your genes influence your well-being and lifestyle choices. You’ll get a clear picture of your wellness with reports such as deep sleep, caffeine consumption, lactose intolerance, muscle type, and weight gain. For those starting a family, there are reports to see if you are a carrier for specific inherited conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and hereditary hearing loss. You’ll also learn about inherited traits like facial features, taste preferences, hair color, smell, and others.

How They Do It

23andMe has a comprehensive genetic research program. Their mission is to help people better understand the human genome and its benefits. By participating in their service, you help drive scientific and medical advances. This is achieved by answering online survey questions and then align genetic data to study topics such as ancestry, traits, and disease.

Saliva samples are processed and DNA analysis is performed in CLIA certified and CAP accredited U.S. laboratories ensuring the accuracy and reliability of results. They use a customized version of the Illumina Global Screening Array to genotype DNA. Once analyzed, personal reports are generated based on the latest research in medical science.

You can even participate in large-scale medical studies through 23andMe’s partnership with Apple’s ResearchKit app. The studies are being performed by Mount Sinai Asthma Health and Stanford Medicine’s MyHeart Counts. Through 23andMe’s app integration, more people can join the studies leading to new advances for asthma and heart disease.

By being a 23andMe customer, you contribute to over 230 studies leading to medical solutions for some of the most devastating health conditions of our time. Imagine helping toward research and discovery for Parkinson’s disease, asthma, lupus, and more.

Your privacy is protected in research with your data being de-identified. Your registration information is stripped with no personally identifiable information used in research analysis. All research activities by 23andMe are reviewed by an Institutional Review Board, an independent ethics panel, ensuring all conducted research complies with government ethical guidelines.

23andMe has received funding for research with four grants from the U.S. National Institute of Health. They work with genetic experts the world over and have published their findings in leading scientific journals. 23andMe collaborates with academic, pharmaceutical, and non-profit organizations to develop research communities. Additionally, their involvement with developing drug therapies spurred the launch of a therapeutics group in 2015 focusing on innovative treatments through human genetics.

Learn more about you at 23andme.com.