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

23andMe® can give adoptees a unique glimpse into their genetic legacy. In your DNA, we can find genetic traces of where your ancestors lived throughout history. The 23andMe Services report on your mitochondrial DNA as well as your autosomes and sex chromosomes.

There are a few reports and tools that are especially helpful for adoptees:

 

Finding Biological Relatives

23andMe is not a service designed to help people find their biological parents, but one feature can help you find and connect with genetic relatives. 

DNA Relatives is a tool that compares your DNA to other 23andMe users that are participating in DNA Relatives and predicts a relationship based on the amount of DNA you share. 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 or Ashkenazi ancestry often have many matches while people with Asian and Middle Eastern 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.

 

Ancestry

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

Our Ancestry Composition report can provide you with insight into your recent ancestry. The feature tells you what percent of your DNA comes from each of 31 populations worldwide. This feature analyzes the autosomal DNA that you inherit in equal parts from each of your parents, therefore, Ancestry Composition can tell an adopted person about their collective recent ancestry from both sides of their family.

The Haplogroups report offers a different vantage point. The Haplogroups report can shed light on the origins of some of our ancestors and on their migrations over tens of thousands of years. Your maternal haplogroup assignment tells you about your maternal-line ancestors, from your mother through her mother and beyond. If you are male, your paternal haplogroup tells you about your paternal-line ancestors, from your father to his father and beyond. Because females do not have Y chromosomes, they do not have paternal haplogroups. Females can still learn about their recent paternal ancestry in our Ancestry Composition report. Learn more.

 

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 onto you, so your genetic composition reflects theirs.

The Health & Ancestry Service includes 65+ reports on health, traits and ancestry. A full list of available reports can be found here.

Our health and traits reports include Carrier Status reports*, Wellness reports, and Traits reports. Our Carrier Status reports tell you about variants that may not affect your health, but could affect the health of your future family. Our Wellness reports can help you make more informed choices that may relate to healthy living. Our Traits reports are a fun way to explore how your DNA makes you unique.

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.

*Our tests can be used to determine carrier status in adults from saliva collected using an FDA-cleared collection device (Oragene DX model OGD.500.001), but cannot determine if you have two copies of the genetic variant. Each test is most relevant for people of certain ethnicities. The tests are not intended to diagnose a disease, or tell you anything about your risk for developing a disease in the future. On their own, carrier status tests are not intended to tell you anything about the health of your fetus, or your newborn child’s risk of developing a particular disease later in life.


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