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At 23andMe, we want our customer base to reflect the planet's rich human diversity. You are uniquely positioned to help. Your participation in the Global Genetics Project will help diversify our database and boost studies in populations that are underrepresented in genomics research. You'll learn more about your heritage — and help others around the world discover theirs.get started
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Do you have ancestors from China or Nigeria? If you have one or more grandparents born in one of the regions listed below you may be eligible to participate in the Global Genetics Project.
- Xizang (Tibet)
- Cross River
Because you know where your family came from, you are uniquely positioned to help other people better understand their families' roots and help 23andMe drive genetic inclusion of underrepresented populations.
By looking at your DNA, along with others from the same region, we can identify genetic similarities of people from that location. Then, we can tell others if they are also from the same country or are affiliated with the same group. Our aim is to help people make new discoveries about their identity by way of their DNA. We also expect to learn more about how people migrated around the world over the last 5,000 years.
When you participate in this study, not only will you help others, but you'll also receive access to 150+ personalized genetic reports online from 23andMe about your ancestry, traits and health.
The study steps take a total of 30 minutes – all from home. We ask that you send in a saliva sample and complete a 15-minute survey about your family origins. No blood tests or trips to a testing site.
23andMe gives you control over your genetic information. We want you to decide how your information is used and with whom it is shared.
23andMe was founded in 2006 to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. A part of our mission is to do research to better understand how DNA affects people's health and ancestry.
We have more than three million genotyped customers around the world.
Still have questions about the Global Genetics Project and 23andMe? Here are a few of the things people frequently ask about.
Don't see your question here? Get in touch with us.
We are conducting this study for three main reasons:
- To boost studies in populations that are underrepresented in genomics research.
- To improve our ability to provide detailed ancestry results for 23andMe customers.
- To contribute to general knowledge of how people migrated throughout the world over the last few thousand years.
Being a research participant means that you agree to contribute your genetic and family origins information for research purposes. There are other aspects to being a research participant; we have summarized the most important ones below. If you have more questions, please contact us at global-genetics@23andMe.com.
What will I be asked to do?
You will be asked to:
- Enroll and consent through the 23andMe website so you can contribute your genetic data and survey answers to the Global Genetics Project.
- Respond to a short questionnaire to determine your eligibility to participate. This step is very important to ensure the integrity of the study.
If you are an eligible participant, you will:
- Receive and use a 23andMe® DNA kit to provide a DNA sample (from your saliva) and return it to 23andMe for genetic analysis. We will keep this saliva/DNA stored in our laboratory.
- Complete an online survey about your family origins. We may send email reminders during the study if you haven't finished the survey.
How will 23andMe use my data?
We will compare your genetic data and survey answers with the genetic data and survey answers of other research participants with ancestry from your region. We are conducting this research in order to improve our service and contribute to scientific and historical knowledge.
We may perform additional analyses on your DNA sample, such as whole genome sequencing.
If you become a participant in this project, your genetic data and ancestry information may be shared with researchers or deposited in a national database outside 23andMe.
What are the risks of being a research participant?
- Being a research participant means that 23andMe will store your genetic information and survey answers (this includes responses to questions or surveys you might feel are sensitive in nature) and securely transfer them to qualified research partners or databases. If a security breach occurred, your data could be leaked. Please refer to How do you protect the confidentiality of my data? for more information about this risk.
- If you choose to access the health, traits and ancestry reports resulting from your use of the 23andMe Service, you may learn information about yourself that you do not anticipate (e.g., that you are not related to a family member in the way you thought, surprising facts related to your ancestry, or that you could pass on an inherited genetic condition to your children). Your 23andMe reports are not intended to diagnose a disease, or tell you anything about your risk for developing a disease in the future. Please contact a qualified medical provider if you have any questions or concerns about the results contained in your reports.
- Please refer to our Terms of Service for more details about the risks of being genotyped.
What are the benefits of being a research participant?
This is a new opportunity to participate in genetics research. As a research participant, you will:
- Take a direct role in research that may lead to new knowledge about global populations
- Participate in web-based research from the comfort of your own home
- Have the option to learn more about yourself through genetics.
Our criteria for including a country in our Global Genetics Project are as follows:
- We reviewed how well represented a country currently is in the 23andMe reference database. We have included countries that fell below a certain threshold of representatives in our database.
- We considered the population size of countries and generally included countries where the census size is larger than 250,000 people.
We are always collaborating with external groups to obtain data from underrepresented populations. We did not include countries for which we are currently conducting a separate initiative to obtain samples representing that country.
Our criteria for including a region in our Global Genetics Project are as follows:
- We reviewed how well represented a subnational region currently is in the 23andMe reference database. We have included regions that fell below a certain threshold of representatives in our database.
- We are always collaborating with external groups to obtain data from underrepresented populations. We did not include countries or regions for which we may be conducting a separate initiative to obtain samples representing that country.
As our study continues to grow we may consider adding additional regions of interest. Please use our Landing Page as a central resource for updates on the Global Genetics Project.
At this time, enrollment in the Global Genetics Project is limited to United States residents. We currently do not have plans to expand this study to residents of other countries.
Research projects like this must be carried out under the supervision of a research ethics committee. In the United States this is called an Institutional Review Board (IRB), which is an independent ethics panel that ensures all research is conducted in accordance with government and ethical guidelines. 23andMe has approval from our IRB to conduct the Global Genetics Project only in the United States, and therefore we are not authorized to enroll participants who live outside the United States at this time.
As part of your participation in this research study, you will receive a complimentary 23andMe saliva collection kit and the option to access the 23andMe Service. The 23andMe Service provides you with your unique personal genetic profile, including reports on your traits, wellness, carrier status, genetic health risks, and ancestry. The test does not diagnose any specific health conditions. Results should not be used to make medical decisions. Please contact a qualified medical provider if you have any questions or concerns about the results contained in your reports.
You can access your account indefinitely as long as you choose to keep it open and abide by the Terms of Service.
Your 23andMe account will continue to receive updates as long as the genetic information referenced in those updates is among the data generated by your original DNA sample. If a future feature or report relies on DNA results not included in your initial analysis, access to that feature or report would require upgrading to the next 23andMe genotyping platform. Any future upgrades involving a new 23andMe genotyping platform are not included as a benefit to your participation in this study.
To increase the chance that meaningful scientific discoveries are made, 23andMe may share de-identified, individual-level data (which may include your whole genome sequence) with qualified research partners or upload these data to a national database approved by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), such as NIH's Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP). The data will be de-identified, which means you cannot be easily identified by others with whom we partner in the future (researchers, scientists, etc.).
The shared data will be stripped of identifying components (name, email, address, user ID and password). If 23andMe shares your genetic or self-reported data with a qualified research partner or database, this action cannot be undone and your data will not be returned to 23andMe. Please refer to our Privacy Statement to learn more about our practices.
23andMe may share de-identified, individual-level data with qualified research partners or upload these data to a genetic database. This means you cannot be easily identified by others whom we may partner with in the future (researchers, scientists, etc.).
We built all of our systems with the privacy and security of our research participants at the center and we have a number of safeguards in place to ensure confidentiality. All data in the research computing environment are disconnected from your contact or registration information and are coded with a unique research ID.
23andMe research scientists who have access to your sensitive data (i.e. DNA results, survey responses) do not have access to your account or contact information. Conversely, 23andMe project managers who have access to your contact information do not have access to your sensitive individual-level data. Thus, it would be extremely difficult for 23andMe employees or any external party to link your individually identifying information to your DNA results and survey response data.
Unfortunately, there are always unknown threats in information security. Therefore, we cannot fully guarantee the security of your data. However, we constantly update our security systems and protocols to deal with new threats as they become known. We protect against known factors by applying industry practices in all of our information security procedures.
All 23andMe research is performed in a secure computing environment with access restricted to research scientists and system administrators. All 23andMe servers are protected by technical, physical, and administrative procedures. Our servers are monitored for unauthorized activity. Your genetic data and sensitive account information such as passwords are encrypted, as are all data transfers between our servers and your computer(s).
23andMe will also have agreements with all research partners regarding the security and storage of data that is shared outside 23andMe. Although 23andMe cannot provide a 100% guarantee that your data will be safe, 23andMe policies and procedures minimize the chance that a breach could take place.
By choosing to have 23andMe receive, analyze and store your saliva sample, you are consenting to having 23andMe and its contractors access, analyze and store your sample in a manner consistent with our Terms of Service, Privacy Statement and the Consent Document for Sample Storage and Additional Genetic Analyses.
We use a process called "genotyping" to generate genetic data from each participant's saliva. We may perform additional analyses on your sample, such as whole genome sequencing.
Genotyping is the process of determining which genetic variants (differences) an individual possesses at a pre-specified list of positions. This process looks at around 600,000 positions on the genome. However, as genotyping analysis requires the list of positions be known beforehand, it cannot be used to learn about genetic differences that have not yet been discovered. 23andMe customers are genotyped at hundreds of thousands of locations in their genomes.
Whole genome sequencing is a more comprehensive method used to determine the exact sequence of a certain length of DNA, examining all 3 billion positions in a person's genome. A given stretch of a genome may include some DNA that varies between individuals, including differences that have never been seen before. Thus, whole genome sequencing can help identify differences that may be unique to that person. Due to the enormity of the data generated in this analysis, we would be unable to return this data to you.
Our Global Genetics Project includes an online survey about your family's cultural or geographic origins. You will also have opportunities to participate in additional studies by responding to one of the many other surveys available on the 23andMe website.
If there are any additional study or survey opportunities, we will let you know about them via regular updates through your 23andMe.com account and/or email.
If you agree to participate in the Global Genetics Project, your participation includes the use of a 23andMe DNA kit and optional access to the 23andMe Service at no cost. As part of registering this 23andMe kit you will be required to agree to the 23andMe Terms of Service document.
We want you to know that while participating in the study activities described below, the following sections of the Terms of Service will not apply to the extent they prevent you from pursuing a claim if you suffer a research-related injury:
- Section 14 ("Indemnity")
- Section 23 ("Disclaimer of Warranties"), Subsections (1), (3), (4), and (5)
- Section 24 ("Limitation of Liability")
- Section 28(d) ("Term for cause of action")
Study activities include:
- Providing a saliva sample for genetic analysis using a 23andMe DNA kit, if you have not already done so.
- Completing the Family Origins survey on the 23andMe website.
Please note, however, that if you choose to use any of 23andMe's products, software, services, and website, outside of your participation in these study activities, you will be, just like all users of 23andMe's products, software, services, and website, subject to the 23andMe Terms of Service.
If you decide to enroll in the Global Genetics Project, you will be asked to review and accept the 23andMe Research Consent document. That consent document covers research related to human health, traits, diseases, drug response, ancestry and other genetics research.
Research participation consists of entering data about yourself into 23andMe Research features on the 23andMe website. These features include surveys, individual questions, and other features where you enter information. You choose which survey(s) or question(s) you want to answer. If you do not feel comfortable providing a piece of information, you may choose not to answer that question.
We want you to understand that if you accept the 23andMe Research Consent document, your genetic data and any information about yourself that you enter through 23andMe Research features (surveys, individual question, etc.) can be used for research as defined in that 23andMe Consent Document.
23andMe Research is open-ended: new surveys and features may be added on a continuing basis. If new surveys or features are added, you may receive an email update or see an announcement when you sign in to your account. We might invite you to participate in a specific study if your Genetic & Self-Reported Information matches the area of interest.
Your participation in 23andMe Research is completely voluntary. You may opt-out of research at any time.
Existing customers are customers who purchased a 23andMe kit prior to joining the study. Customers are our research partners and we welcome them to see if they are eligible to participate in the Global Genetics Project.
However, please know that the product experience will not change as a result of an existing customer's participation in a study. For example, if an existing customer purchased the Ancestry Service, she will not gain access to the Health + Ancestry Service without purchasing an upgrade.
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