23andMe offers one of the most comprehensive and rewarding home DNA test kit experiences available. It has the ability to test your ancestry back over 10,000 years, and can pinpoint your genetic markers to specific regions of the globe.
Ease of Use
All you need to do to order a 23andMe DNA test is head over to their website, open an account and answer a few simple questions. From there, it takes about a week for the kit to arrive. Once you get it, simply spit into the vile provided, put it back in the box, and send it away. It couldn’t be easier. It will take you about a month to receive the results. But when you do, you’ll be amazed at how much information there is an how clearly it is is laid out. Broadly speaking, they are divided into two different categories: 1) a breakdown of your genes; 2) a list of long lost relatives. As far as your genes themselves are concerned, the report makes it very easy to understand the origins of your genetic code. It’s laid out in a chart, with percentages clearly marked and accompanied by several visual aids as well such as bar graphs, pie charts, and a color coded map of the world. You won’t have to go hunting to know where you come from. There is also a fun feature that will show you the percentage of your DNA that is actually from Neanderthals, and let you know how that specific part of your genome might be expressing itself (our favorite was the “propensity to sneeze after eating dark chocolate” category). When it comes to the long lost relatives, you’ll see a list of people (not necessarily their real names, depending on their privacy settings) and their relation to you such as second cousin, third to fourth cousin, or a more distant cousin. If you want to interact with any of them, all you need to do is make a few clicks and you can share your information to try and get in touch. There is also a “share and compare” feature that will let you build a family tree based on a cross-reference of anyone in the database that has consented to their data being used for that purpose.
23andMe follows a strict “opt-in” policy for all of your personal information across all of their services. This means that any information about you either from your DNA test kit results, or that you enter into the website after the fact, remain completely confidential unless you state other wise. This includes all of the features offered to cross-reference your genes with other site users. However, the company does reserve the right to use your data without your consent for the purpose of creating aggregate, anonymized data to share with third parties.
Unlike other home DNA test kit companies, 23andMe does not place an emphasis on using non-DNA based methods of genealogy research such as records and documentation. However, depending on what you are looking for this may not even matter to you. While records do have use, the focus on genes allows the company to go above and beyond what other are even capable of. There are many different services offered by 23andMe – such as Neanderthal gene testing – that you won’t even find offered in other places. So bottom line, if you are looking to get the deepest analysis of your own genes, this is the best choice. If you’re looking to do a lot of research, you will probably be disappointed.
The 23andMe Personal Genome Service kit costs a one time fee of $149.00.
The 23andMe website has a help center that will give you answers to commonly asked questions such as how to make a purchase, register your kit, or how to manage your profile. In addition, there are some helpful answers for more complicated questions about the service itself including what you can learn from it, what being someone’s DNA relative really means, and what genome sharing is. And in the event that you can’t find an answer to your specific question, there is an option to email support directly rom the website.
23andMe offers what is hands down the most comprehensive home services for a genealogy DNA test available. No other company even comes close to providing you with such an in-depth look at exactly where your genes come from.