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How your DNA becomes a report.

Human DNA is about 99.5% identical from person to person. However, there are small differences that make each person unique. These differences are called variants.

Your DNA was passed down from your parents—and their parents and so on. Variants can be linked to certain health conditions, traits and ancestry groups.

Your saliva contains DNA from cells in your mouth. We send you a saliva collection kit and instructions for providing your sample.

As part of our methodology, our CLIA-certified lab extracts DNA from cells in your saliva sample. Then the lab processes the DNA on a genotyping chip that reads hundreds of thousands of variants in your genome.

Your genetic data is analyzed, and we generate your personalized reports based on well-established scientific and medical research.

Variables include environment like pollution, sun exposure; genetic like DNA, ethnicity; lifestyle like smoking, exercise

Why genetics is only part of the story.

When it comes to your health and traits, DNA is only part of the story. Your genes can raise your chances for many diseases, but they do not typically work alone. Health and longevity are influenced by other variables, including non-genetic factors, such as your environment and lifestyle. Let’s take type 2 diabetes (T2D) for example, the most common — and to an extent preventable — form of diabetes.

Data from a few large studies estimate between 20-80 percent of the risk for developing the disease may be explained by genetics. That being said, your age, diet, weight, ethnicity, and activity levels all play a role.

To break it down a little further, your weight — or more specifically your Body Mass Index (BMI) — contributes to your chances of developing T2D, but your weight is also influenced by a complex mix of genetics, lifestyle, and your environment. An unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle contribute to higher BMI, but obesity also runs in families, and families tend to share similar diet and lifestyle choices along with genetics.

All in all, it’s important to recognize that your genetic predisposition, your DNA, is not your destiny, but knowing you may have a higher genetic likelihood for a disease such as T2D can help motivate you to make healthier choices.

Our process at work.

To ensure quality, your DNA analysis is performed in US laboratories that are certified by CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988) and accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

More on: our lab.

A CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab must meet certain quality standards, including qualifications for individuals who perform the test and other standards that ensure the accuracy and reliability of results.

Sequencing is a method that determines the exact DNA letters and their order in a stretch of DNA. Genotyping looks at DNA letters of interest at specific locations. Genotyping is the technology that 23andMe uses to analyze your DNA.

Our genotyping looks at hundreds of thousands of specific locations on your DNA. These locations are known to vary between individuals, and some are associated with certain conditions, traits, or ancestry.

We use leading technology to genotype your DNA—a custom version of the lllumina Global Screening Array.

Meet some of our researchers.

Here are some of the people behind the science at 23andMe.

Portrait of researcher David Hinds

"The high quality genetic research we do at 23andMe is possible because of our customers who share their data and want to make a difference."

David H., PhD
Principal Scientist

"The high quality genetic research we do at 23andMe is possible because of our customers who share their data and want to make a difference."

David H., PhD
Principal Scientist

Portrait of researcher Joanna Mountain

"I am passionate about genetics because I am fascinated by how humans are different from one another, and what DNA tells us about those differences."

Joanna M., PhD
Senior Director of Research

"I am passionate about genetics because I am fascinated by how humans are different from one another, and what DNA tells us about those differences."

Joanna M., PhD
Senior Director of Research

Portrait of researcher Joyce Tung

"Be curious. Ask questions. The more we understand about our fascinatingly complex selves, the better we can take care of each other and the beautiful world we live in."

Joyce T., PhD
VP of Research

"Be curious. Ask questions. The more we understand about our fascinatingly complex selves, the better we can take care of each other and the beautiful world we live in."

Joyce T., PhD
VP of Research

A variant is a difference in the DNA sequence between two individuals. Variants can cause specific diseases, contribute to diseases or traits (along with the environment), or have no effect. Variants can be passed down from parent to child.

The analysis we perform is called genotyping. Genotyping looks at specific locations in your DNA and identifies variations. These variations make you unique.

In choosing these specific locations, we focus on the variations that are known to be associated with important health conditions, ancestry and traits. Genotyping is a great way to start understanding how your genetics can impact your life.

23andMe refers to the 23 pairs of chromosomes in your DNA.

*23andMe health predisposition reports include both reports that meet FDA requirements for genetic health risks and reports which are based on 23andMe research and have not been reviewed by the FDA. The test uses qualitative genotyping to detect select clinically relevant variants in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting genetic health risks. It is not intended to diagnose any disease. Your ethnicity may affect the relevance of each report and how your genetic health risk results are interpreted. Each genetic health risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing the disease. The test is not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication, how much of a medication you should take, or determine any treatment. Our carrier status reports can be used to determine carrier status, but cannot determine if you have two copies of any genetic variant. These carrier reports are not intended to tell you anything about your risk for developing a disease in the future, the health of your fetus, or your newborn child's risk of developing a particular disease later in life. For certain conditions, we provide a single report that includes information on both carrier status and genetic health risk.

**23andMe PGS Pharmacogenetics reports: The 23andMe test uses qualitative genotyping to detect 3 variants in the CYP2C19 gene, 2 variants in the DPYD gene and 1 variant in the SLCO1B1 gene in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting information about the processing of certain therapeutics to inform discussions with a healthcare professional. It does not describe if a person will or will not respond to a particular therapeutic and does not describe the association between detected variants and any specific therapeutic. Our CYP2C19 Pharmacogenetics report provides certain information about variants associated with metabolism of some therapeutics and provides interpretive drug information regarding the potential effect of citalopram and clopidogrel therapy. Results for SLCO1B1 and DPYD and certain CYP2C19 results should be confirmed by an independent genetic test prescribed by your own healthcare provider before taking any medical action. Warning: Test information should not be used to start, stop, or change any course of treatment and does not test for all possible variants that may affect metabolism or protein function. The PGS test is not a substitute for visits to a healthcare professional. Making changes to your current regimen can lead to harmful side effects or reduced intended benefits of your medication, therefore consult with your healthcare professional before taking any medical action. For important information and limitations regarding Pharmacogenetics reports, visit 23andme.com/test-info/pharmacogenetics/

Our science

Quality

Our rigorous standards ensure quality service.

*23andMe health predisposition reports include both reports that meet FDA requirements for genetic health risks and reports which are based on 23andMe research and have not been reviewed by the FDA. The test uses qualitative genotyping to detect select clinically relevant variants in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting genetic health risks. It is not intended to diagnose any disease. Your ethnicity may affect the relevance of each report and how your genetic health risk results are interpreted. Each genetic health risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing the disease. The test is not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication, how much of a medication you should take, or determine any treatment. Our carrier status reports can be used to determine carrier status, but cannot determine if you have two copies of any genetic variant. These carrier reports are not intended to tell you anything about your risk for developing a disease in the future, the health of your fetus, or your newborn child's risk of developing a particular disease later in life. For certain conditions, we provide a single report that includes information on both carrier status and genetic health risk.
**23andMe PGS Pharmacogenetics reports: The 23andMe test uses qualitative genotyping to detect 3 variants in the CYP2C19 gene, 2 variants in the DPYD gene and 1 variant in the SLCO1B1 gene in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting information about the processing of certain therapeutics to inform discussions with a healthcare professional. It does not describe if a person will or will not respond to a particular therapeutic and does not describe the association between detected variants and any specific therapeutic. Our CYP2C19 Pharmacogenetics report provides certain information about variants associated with metabolism of some therapeutics and provides interpretive drug information regarding the potential effect of citalopram and clopidogrel therapy. Results for SLCO1B1 and DPYD and certain CYP2C19 results should be confirmed by an independent genetic test prescribed by your own healthcare provider before taking any medical action. Warning: Test information should not be used to start, stop, or change any course of treatment and does not test for all possible variants that may affect metabolism or protein function. The PGS test is not a substitute for visits to a healthcare professional. Making changes to your current regimen can lead to harmful side effects or reduced intended benefits of your medication, therefore consult with your healthcare professional before taking any medical action. For important information and limitations regarding Pharmacogenetics reports, visit 23andme.com/test-info/pharmacogenetics/

Privacy

You are in control. You choose how your personal genetic information is used and shared. We tell you how those choices are implemented, and how we collect, use and disclose your information.

  • We will not share your individual data without your explicit consent
  • The Canada Genetic Non-Discrimination Act provides protection from employer and health insurance discrimination based on your genetics
  • We will not provide your information or results to employers or health insurance companies
  • We do not provide information to law enforcement unless we are required to comply with a valid subpoena or court order

Learn more about our privacy practices.

DNA Basics

Human DNA is about 99.5% identical from person to person. However, there are small changes that make each person unique. These changes are called variants.

Your DNA was passed down from your parents — and their parents and so on. Variants can be linked to certain health conditions, traits and ancestry groups.

When it comes to your health and traits, your DNA is only part of the story. Other factors can come into play, including non-genetic factors such as your environment and lifestyle.

How your DNA becomes a report

Your saliva contains DNA from cells in your mouth. We send you a saliva collection kit and instructions for providing your sample.

Our CLIA-certified lab extracts DNA from cells in your saliva sample. Then the lab processes the DNA on a genotyping chip that reads hundreds of thousands of locations in your genome.

Your genetic data is analyzed, and we generate your personalized reports based on well-established scientific and medical research.

Our researchers

Here are some of the people behind the science at 23andMe.

"The high quality genetic research we do at 23andMe is possible because of our customers who share their data and want to make a difference."

David H., PhD
Principal Scientist

"I am passionate about genetics because I am fascinated by how humans are different from one another, and what DNA tells us about those differences."

Joanna M., PhD
Senior Director of Research

"Be curious. Ask questions. The more we understand about our fascinatingly complex selves, the better we can take care of each other and the beautiful world we live in."

Joyce T., PhD
VP of Research

Our lab

To ensure quality, your DNA analysis is performed in US laboratories that are certified by CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988) and accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

A CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab must meet certain quality standards, including qualifications for individuals who perform the test, and other standards that ensure the accuracy and reliability of results.

The analysis we perform is called genotyping. Our genotyping looks at hundreds of thousands of specific locations on your DNA. These locations are known to vary between individuals, and some are associated with certain conditions, traits, or ancestry.

We use leading technology to genotype your DNA—a custom version of the lllumina Global Screening Array.