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What can 23andMe do for me if I am adopted?

As an adoptee, 23andMe can give you a unique glimpse into your genetic legacy.

Finding Biological Relatives
23andMe is not a service designed to help people find their biological parents, but several of our features can help you find people you are related to.

DNA Relatives is a feature that compares all of our customers' genetic data, looking for shared segments of DNA. These shared segments indicate that two people are related through a common ancestor.

The number of relatives you will be matched to can vary. For example, people with European ancestry often have over 100 relatives. People with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, a group that is more related than average, may have more than 1,000 relatives. People with Asian ancestry will likely have fewer matches.

You can be confident that the matches listed in DNA Relatives are your relatives, even though they may be quite distantly related to you. The vast majority of relatives found by DNA Relatives share a common ancestor within the last five to ten generations. A few may be more distantly related. There is, however, the possibility of finding a much closer relative - including a parent or sibling.

A second feature that can help give you information about relatives is our Family Traits tool. If you believe another person might be related to you, and they agree to submit a sample to 23andMe, you can see whether you share segments of DNA. If you do, you will also be matched in DNA Relatives.

Regardless of whether or not you are interested in finding biological relatives using our service, we have a number of tools that can provide you with information about your heritage.

The broadest view comes from the Global Similarity feature, which identifies the populations around the world you most resemble genetically. It is likely that the majority of your ancestors came from the one or two regional populations that are most similar to you.

The Maternal Line feature offers a different vantage point, by tracing your biological mother's all-female lineage. This lineage can be traced all the way back to the origin of the human species about 200,000 years ago. As a result, the Maternal Ancestry feature gives you a very good idea of where your mother's family came from.

The Paternal Line feature provides similar information, except that it provides information about a person's all-male ancestral line. Because it analyzes DNA on the Y-chromosome it is only available for men.

Our Ancestry Composition feature can also provide some insight into your origins. The feature tells you what percent of your DNA comes from each of 31 populations worldwide. The analysis includes DNA you received from all of your ancestors, on both sides of your family. Because each person gets a complete set of chromosomes from each parent, the Ancestry Composition feature can tell an adopted person about each of his or her biological parents' ancestors.

Health and Physical Traits
23andMe can give you a glimpse at your biological parents' DNA simply by showing you your own. Your parents each passed half of their own DNA on to you, so your genetic composition necessarily reflects theirs.

While 23andMe does reveal some genetic information about genetic variations that have been associated with diseases and conditions, it is not a substitute for a family medical history.

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