Founded in 2006, 23andMe is a DNA testing company with more than five million users. It offers consumers the opportunity to learn several different types of data from their DNA, including the following:
To purchase a 23andMe test, you choose a DNA testing service, based on bundled reports with different types of genetic data.
23andMe has a simple testing process with three main steps:
|23andMe's 50+ ancestry-related reports provide several different types of genealogical analysis. Both autosomal and sex chromosomes are tested, offering a wide range of data about your ancestors, including the following:|
Carrier Status Reports
These 40+ reports look for genetic disorders for which you may be a carrier. Tests include looking for gene variants including the following:
Several different types of traits reports are available from this testing service. They include data about 30+ genes that affect taste, fears, and physical traits:
Health Predisposition Reports
23andMe offers 10+ reports on genetic predispositions toward certain health conditions. Tests look for the genetic likelihood of developing certain conditions, including the following:
Consumers should know that most of the gene variants analyzed are only significant for select groups of people, depending on your ethnicity. Consumers that will get the most relevant variants tested are those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
This testing company offers data about several traits that can affect your overall wellness:
Currently, there are three different bundled purchase options:
Let's break down the differences between 23andMe's DNA test options.
Ancestry + Traits
Health + Ancestry
VIP Health + Ancestry
Keep reading for pros and cons, plus 23andMe consumer reviews.
You can buy 23andMe DNA kits online and at a variety of local retailers. This makes it simple for consumers to purchase 23andMe’s products from nearby store locations if they don't want to go through the company’s website and wait for the kit to be shipped.
23andMe retailers include the following:
Availability may vary by store location, so be sure to check with the stores beforehand to see if they have the DNA test kit you’re looking for in stock.
23andMe.com offers users the option to create an account and sign in to the website using your Google credentials. This helps to speed up the process of creating an account, ordering a kit, and signing back into 23andMe later.
23andMe's basic Ancestry DNA test results offer several features that make it pretty valuable for people looking to learn about their genealogy. With this company's Ancestry testing service, autosomal DNA and sex chromosome DNA, including Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are examined, as opposed to genetic genealogy competitor, AncestryDNA, which only offers an autosomal test.
The 23andMe Ancestry Composition report is a major part of your results. This report is generated by testing your autosomal and X-chromosome DNA. It estimates the proportion of your DNA comes from 45 worldwide ethnic groups, referred to as genetic populations.
It also compares your DNA to people who have known and documented roots in more than 1,500 regions across the world.
If your parent takes a test, too, this section will be broken down into what regions and percentages you likely inherited from each parent.
The Ancestry Composition report also includes more than 150 Recent Ancestor Locations.
Through mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-DNA testing, 23andMe users also get a report of their maternal haplogroups (men and women) and paternal haplogroups (men only). Though, if a woman's father takes the test as well, additional information is generated listing her father's haplogroup data in her results.
How much Neanderthal ancestry have you inherited? This test checks for more than 2,000 genetic variants passed down from Neanderthal ancestors. You can compare your results to worldwide 23andMe customers.
This portion of your Ancestry results will show how many generations ago your most recent ancestor from each ethnic population lived, going back more than eight generations
If you are looking to connect with biological relatives, your DNA Relative resorts are the place to look. You will get a list of people that are related to you. Based on the amount of DNA you share, this tool estimates how closely you are related.
For people who don't want to open Pandora's box, but still want to learn about their roots, this tool requires you to opt-in. It isn't a mandatory part of the test. This is a nice option for people who are concerned about privacy and being connected with other genetic relatives.
A new feature available with your Ancestry results is the Family Tree builder. It automatically predicts and displays a family tree based on ages and the amount of shared DNA you have with DNA Relatives (third cousins and closer). To access this feature, you need to opt-in to DNA relatives or create connections with other test-takers from your account settings.
Keep in mind that unknown family members (not in the 23andMe database), will be unnamed in the family tree.
If you start out with just the Ancestry + Traits test, you can upgrade to include Carrier Status, Health Predisposition, and Wellness reports later for a $125 fee, without purchasing additional testing kits or submitting an additional DNA sample. That way, if you decide later that you would prefer to know whether you carry certain genetic variants with a risk of breast cancer. For example, you can just upgrade to add health screening reports, without going through the process again.
23andMe now offers an exclusive VIP service level, for people that want faster results and premium customer service.
The top tier VIP Health + Ancestry bundle includes the following perks:
Note: Access to the premium support hotline and the 30-minute Ancestry walkthrough are only valid for 1 year from your date of purchase.
23andMe is the one and only FDA-approved provider of health-related direct-to-consumer DNA testing.
Note: The new Type 2 Diabetes genetic predisposition report has not been reviewed by the FDA.
If you purchase one of 23andMe's services that include Health reporting, you may be able to use an FSA or HSA card to make your payment.
Note: Insurance benefits cannot be used to cover a 23andMe test, even if you choose a Health report.
The 23andMe platform doesn't require membership fees or a monthly subscription. This is in comparison to other services that offer subscription-based extras, like Ancestry that opens up extra ancestry features when used with a subscription and the new HealthPlus option that requires an extra ongoing subscription to get more genetic data throughout the year.
A 10 percent discount is available if you buy more than one Health + Ancestry kit at a time.
Educators and college students located in the United States may be eligible for the 23andMe Education Discount on a DNA kit and service bundle. Discounts are as follows:
Eligible students and teachers at an accredited college or university can validate their discount by providing an email address from one of the following top level domains (TLDs):
However, if you don't have an official email address from your institution with one of the TLDs listed, you can contact 23andMe's Education team for assistance.
No matter which 23andMe test you take, users have access to view their raw DNA data from their account, or download the file. This lets you upload to third party websites to learn additional data from just one sample.
23andMe offers a few different privacy and testing features that consumers should be aware of, including the following:
23andMe DNA kits require a saliva sample. While some other kit providers offer an easy cheek swab sample, this testing company uses a spit kit sample. Test takers have to spit saliva into a tube and then seal it off before returning. Some people find this type of sample a little harder to do. However, based on 23andMe's prices, it won't be a dealbreaker for most shoppers.
When using 23andMe's Ancestry testing kit, you are only able to see approximately 2,100 matches at a time; however, these will be your closest DNA relatives, that you share the most DNA in common with.
As more and more people take the test, your matches will be updated. Those that are closely related to you will be added to your list and more distant relatives are bumped out of the list, once you reach the 2,100 limit.
Not everyone will have over 2,000 matches. This depends on the number of people you have DNA in common with that have taken the test and are available as a match in 23andMe's database and your DNA matches who choose not to opt-in to the relative matching feature.
Additionally, once you establish DNA sharing with your matches, that user will no longer be counted toward your 2,100 limit. Establishing sharing connections is one way to accrue more matches. They won't be phased-out if closer DNA relatives push you over the limit.
If you are looking for a service that will send your DNA results in the mail, or that offers a printed book of your results, 23andMe is not a good option. All DNA testing results are digital and are only accessed through your account either through an internet browser or the downloadable mobile apps.
23andMe’s testing kit is more expensive than many others in the industry. If you want Ancestry and Health reports, you will have to pay $199. Although this isn’t the most expensive genetic testing kit out there, it is still pricey compared to other DNA testing companies.
However, the 23andMe Ancestry service combines results that would normally require you to take two different types of tests: an autosomal DNA test and a Y-DNA or mtDNA test. Additionally, the company is the only one that has gone through the FDA approval process for its health-related tests.
Note: 23andMe’s website, as well as its retailers, will often hold sales and the tests will go down in price for a certain amount of time.
Refunds can be requested for any unused DNA kit within 30 days of ordering (directly through 23andMe). You will be refunded the full purchase price less shipping and handling.
If you purchased your DNA kit at a third-party retailer, any return depends on where you bought it. However, 23andMe will refund the lab fee paid directly to the company.
While 23andMe does refer customers to genetic counseling services, these services are not included in your purchase price. Testers will have to pursue any genetic or medical consultation on their own after they receive results.
This is in comparison to the new AncestryHealth product line that, starting at $149 for the Core product, includes access to a genetic counselor, through PWN health. However, AncestryHealth is not approved by the FDA and the majority of 23andMe health reports are.
While some consumers may be looking to take advantage of this company's extensive DNA testing algorithms and huge database of possible genetic relatives by uploading third-party data from another testing service, it's not possible. 23andMe does not support third-party data uploads from outside genetic testing companies.
This policy isn't unique. In fact, raw DNA uploads are not accepted by one of 23andMe's major competitors, AncestryDNA.
I have loved everything about my 23andMe experience. I have been curious about what makes me unique for so long and I have loved the experience of being able to understand this. I even loved it so much that I bought one for my mother and boyfriend. The only thing I do not like is the bombardment of notifications that I get on my 23andMe app.
Great service for finding out about your DNA and your relatives. Customer service is good and helpful.
23andMe is a great way to connect with the paths your ancestors traveled. You can find distant relatives and see where they are, or discover closer relatives... some who you may not have known existed! It is really a neat look at your DNA. I love participating in their surveys for research.
23 and Me is the real thing! The gene testing they do for health and ancestry is on point. By using their family tree finder I actually found out I had a half-sister I never knew about and she's now apart of the family! I highly recommend.
I got my mom a 23 and me kit for christmas and she loved it! It's super cool to be able to get health results back as well.
I'm not sure how accurate the results of this test are, but it was still really interesting to see how my DNA compares to that of other people around the world! I have a lot more Spanish in me than I expected!
Such a cool service! They helped me realize my lineage as through adoptions in my family nobody knew for sure.
23 and me gave fast and accurate results, but the service can be out of many people’s price ranges
The 23andMe kit was super easy to use. I actually had to redo mine, but at no charge. Once I got the results the app is easy to navigate, and it's fun discovering new family members all the time.
Ordered kit and received it but never used it because of concerns regarding the sharing of information. We live in a world where information is no longer respected as it was in the past, seems the technological compliance has not evolved with the speed and access of the loss of privacy. If ever a way is created that information is truly secure and protected I would love to use your product.
Best DNA service I’ve used to date. Has extremely detailed results and pinpoints diseases one may be prone to and from where you are. Great service!
The Kitsap that this company provides was simple to use and easy to mail and ship. My sister and I had fun seeing how our background links up to one a other. However the price for the kit is expensive for what it's worth.
I was considering having our family send in a sample to see where our family's ancestry origins. I also thought that getting some feed back on possible medical problems we might face later in life. After I did more research I on the security of our personal information we decided not to do it. It was disturbing to find out that we are the product that is being sold and that security of my data is not adequately being protected.
I loved the results! The DNA submission was very easy and the results came quickly. Would highly recommend!
23andMe is great, I sent in my sample a few months ago and it was very cool seeing all the genetic markers and information they give you back. This is also a very cool gift idea; as it is something most people would like to do but don't necessarily want to spend the money on because it can be a bit pricey
Worried about sending in my dna, but what I found out about myself gave me a sense of clarity. The information is easy to read and a gift if you have been adopted.
I purchased the 23 and me plus health. While I enjoyed all the background information they gave on my ancestors and their location the health portion of it I don’t think it’s quite there yet. I’m sure more people need to put their DNA into the pool and to take the surveys. Most of my results came back as you may or may not have these various traits. The test was very easy to take and the results came back fast. I love how it showed you the steps being taken with your sample and gave you a time line. I will definitely get this for my parents
I waited until the ancestry kit went on sale. Came in on time and when expected. The only thing was after I had sent in my DNA sample i had to wait a good bit of time for my results to come back. Overall positive experience.
I wanted to find out where my ancestors came from and there were so many different companies to go with! I’m so glad I choose this company I found out some much about my ancestor! It’s super easy to send in my dna.
I got a 23 and me kit as a gift. It was super interesting to get the results and see where i was from as well as other health info i wouldn’t know otherwise. Great experience.
I love that you can get so many specifics to your genetics through 23 and me. They provide a huge value for a small fee.
Was really neat to see all the graphs and maps of where my ancestors came from. User interface was incredibly easy to navigate. Was also very informative as far as health goes.
Personally I like 23 And Me the best, the results are easier to read and they offer more than other dna companies
23 and Me is a very efficient and affordable system that works like any other genetic testing company. I would recommend to anyone!!
Really jaw dropping seeing your family history and where you are from. All this time I thought I was descended from just two countries, but it turns out I am from around 8!
Pretty general information. Don’t get as much detailed information as you would like. Not real specific in where your ancestors came from
My husband got a kit as a gift and it was very interesting and enjoyable to get the results.
Super cool to get details about your heritage and where you came from. Easy kit to use, takes a while to get results however
I used 23andMe an it was a great and easy experience. The kit was easy to use as well as shipping it back to the lab.
My experience with this company has been difficult. I think the company is very interesting and definitely has a lot of good reviews but with my personal experience, I got my kit sent back to me 3 times. I followed the directions each time properly and still no results. I gave up on trying to send it back because I figured it’d just be wrong again. I still believe the company is amazing and will continue to do well.
I’m really glad I got the chance to use this. I got my results back in just a month and I have so much information about my DNA that I never knew.
My dad did the 23 and Me test and his results came in in a very timely manner and they also happened to share interesting history of our family we haven't even heard about yet. Our family is constantly trying to learn our history and this helped us learn more about ourselves and we couldn't be more thankful!
23 and Me is the best!! My family and i have always wanted to know our DNA traced. Thanks to 23 and Me i now have that!
I have enjoyed finding out interesting traits in my family. I really appreciate the health screening portion as well. I hope to connect to unknown or distant relatives.
23andme took a long period to send me my results, however, the detail of the results was amazing! I enjoyed all the information I received and was excited and got more kits for other members of my family.
Last year for Father’s day my family gifted one of these products to my dad. He loved this gift and found out some cool stuff.
My husband bought it for me and honestly I totally love it. I have both ancestry and 23 and me And both are fun. I love that I’ve been able to hook up with my family members. I just laid the the health part. Was a little expensive I am excited
Do yourself a favor and get the 23andMe. I love being able to see new connections and learn new and exciting things about my health and overall wellbeing.
Andrea C Moran-Melendez
My 23 and Me experience was amazing. My results actually came back way faster than expected. It was approximated to be possibly two months as I sent in my samples in September so I was expecting them back in November but to my surprise, I received them in October and I even was able to reconnect with family. I also love that using the app it encourages me to travel to the places that my ancestry traces back to and even shows information for Hotels and Air BnB
I got this for husband so he could see who he is and what he is made of, and it was so cool to experience him finding out where he came from! He loved it! Awesome gift as we should all know and embrace these things!
Getting my results from 23andMe was a really awesome experience! I learned so much about my family history I would have never have known about otherwise.
Loved this! Sent in my DNA, which was super simple, and got my results back way faster than they predicted they would get it completed. Got back some interesting results about my little one, who’s father was adopted. Found a new family member. Try it!
Overall, I am happy with the site. It's interesting to discover so many "new" genetic relatives and learn about health conditions. My concerns lie with the accuracy of the labels stating how close your connection is. I think this many be confounded by the fact that I am an Ashkenazi Jew. For the most part, I have no idea who these relatively close relatives are. I do like the new feature of putting your relatives into a family tree.
Really cool how it works. Love how it showed me how where I'm from and even more about my family line and what I'm made of.
Loved the results. Enjoy the questionnaires they send out to enhance their results. My wife in now participating in their program.
Expensive service but they gave me more information about my ancestry and heritage than I ever thought they could. Not only that but they also know and tell you a lot about your health and likely ailments and tendencies.
This was discounted in line during the holidays. Purchased the package sent in my info and presto have my results. Thanks to 23andme I was able to get my doctor to look into some of my issues and long be hold I have genetic markers that cause my issue. On an upside they were also able to link me to family I did not know in another state just wow. We tracked our connection back to my grandfather totally worth every dime.
It was amazing to see my results. I felt it was accurate. I liked that it combined my ancestry and my health.
There's almost too much information, but thats not a bad thing except its harder to find what you are looking for. It also has you reading what results mean so it's a learning curve understanding everyting which is intimmidating and I have not logged in for over a year since first exploring it. Saliva test was as instructed and went smooth, though you soon realize how long it takes to accumulate enough saliva for test. Several minutes. Almost made me puke during process just looking at it, but that was it as far as setup trouble.