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About the 23andMe Personal Genome Service

December 2013 – Pending an FDA decision, 23andMe no longer offers new customers access to health reports. Customers who received their health information prior to November 22, 2013 will still be able to see their health reports, but those who purchased after that time will only receive their ancestry information as well as access to their uninterpreted raw data.

The 23andMe Personal Genome Service is a comprehensive genetic scan of a subset of the SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in your genome which correspond to the SNP data being studied by the research community. Individuals provide saliva samples which are analyzed by our CLIA-certified laboratory, and the results are returned to your online account in approximately 4-6 weeks.

23andMe provides both health and ancestry information in a single service for a single price. In addition to the features below, you also have the ability to browse and download your raw genotyped data.

23andMe Health

Find out how your genetics may impact your health. Our health features include analysis of your Health Risks, Inherited Conditions, Drug Response, and Traits. More than 200 reports are currently available. Learning your genetic risk for various diseases and conditions will allow you and your doctor to focus on the lifestyle changes and preventative steps that matter most for you. Inherited conditions can alert you to mutations in your DNA that could cause disease in your children. Genetics can also affect how well some drugs work for you - or whether they will work at all. In our drug response reports you will learn about variations in your DNA that can help your doctor determine if you need more or less of a medication compared to most people, or whether you might be at increased risk for certain serious side effects.

23andMe Ancestry

23andMe offers one of the most comprehensive analyses of your DNA ancestry. The ancestry features include your maternal ancestry (based on mitochondrial DNA both females and males inherit from their mother), your paternal ancestry (available only for males, based on the Y-chromosome inherited from fathers to sons), and many features based on your autosomal DNA (chromosomes 1-22 that females and males inherit from both parents). By including your autosomal DNA, the majority of our ancestry features include information about both sides of your family tree. Some ancestry features allow you to compare your DNA to that of other 23andMe users, while other features use public and private reference datasets to help you explore your ancestry.

What type of DNA analysis does 23andMe do?

Our genomes contain all of the instructions for making every cell in our body and are nearly identical from person to person, but there are specific positions in the genome that are known to vary between individuals. (For example, one person might have the DNA letter C at one location where another person has a T.)  23andMe analyzes your DNA by looking at these genetic variants. We determine what version each person has for the genetic variants we test for using a process called genotyping. These variants are often associated with ancestry, health conditions and traits, and new associations are being discovered every day.

What technology is used for the analysis?

23andMe analyzes your DNA using the Illumina OmniExpress Plus Genotyping BeadChip. In addition to the variants already included on the chip by Illumina, we’ve included our own, customized set of variants relating to conditions and traits that are of special interest to our researchers and our customers. Technical information on the performance of the chip can be found on Illumina's website, and you can also learn more about the how 23andMe genotypes your DNA.

How well does the technology work?

The vast majority of the variants on our chip, especially those associated with our Health and specific Ancestry features, have a 98% or greater call rate, meaning that the chip can provide accurate data for more than 98% of those variants in any particular person. Variants for which a confident determination cannot be made are reported as "no calls." A small portion of variants, including those on the sex chromosomes (X and Y) and the mitochondrial DNA, are difficult to analyze because of biological issues (e.g. pseudogenes, DNA structure, and highly variable regions). These variants will typically have a lower call rate.

While we do not include genetic markers with low call rates in our Health reports, they are still valuable in our ongoing research efforts and so you may see information for some of them in your raw data.

What type of sample can 23andMe analyze?

The 23andMe personal genetic analysis can only be performed using a saliva sample collected using the saliva kit that we include with your order. The saliva sample collected is ~2 ml. Unfortunately, we are unable to analyze any other type of sample.

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