Updated February 19, 2015: 23andMe provides ancestry-related genetic reports and uninterpreted raw genetic data only. We intend to add some health-related genetic reports in the future once we have a comprehensive product offering. At this time, we do not know which health reports might be available or when they might be available. For more information, please go to the health page. Close Alert

You Could Change the Future of IBD.

Join 10,000 participants with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Genetics and IBD.

At 23andMe, we believe genetic data plays a critical role in research. Knowing more about how genetics relate to a disease can provide additional information on how people might respond to treatments, which may eventually lead to a cure.

Today, there are very few medications for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a chronic, inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract (the two main diseases of IBD are Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease). Maintaining the quality of daily life can be a challenge. It is not known which medications will be effective on individuals and some IBD medications stop working over time. There is very little those diagnosed with IBD can do and often times, surgery becomes the only solution available.

We believe DNA may play a critical role in IBD treatment. Genetics has started playing a larger role in medicine over the past few years. And genetics could provide insight as to why some people are more likely to get IBD and why people respond differently to treatment options and drugs.

Our goal.

To find a better way to treat IBD through genetics. By partnering with Pfizer (a manufacturer developing new drugs to treat IBD) on this first study, we will work together to learn how your genes and your environment could play a role in IBD drug treatment, and how they relate to IBD risk and progression.

Our research objective is to understand the genetic associations found between IBD patients' DNA and their disease, and apply this understanding to Pfizer's drug development efforts.

What makes us different.

You can participate without leaving your home. Your participation takes fifteen minutes. And your participation is anonymous.

Traditional research studies may involve out-of-home blood tests, visits to clinics, nurse practitioner calls, local research facility visits and even drug trials. And, if you don't live close to a research facility, you may not even have the opportunity to participate. Geography alone can slow down research and ultimately, better treatment.

23andMe believes everyone who wants to participate in research should be able to participate in research.

Participate without leaving your home and, it takes just fifteen minutes.

With this study you complete a 15-minute online survey and provide a saliva sample.

And finally, what also makes us different is your ability to participate in future IBD studies around the world. Your information will go into more IBD studies after our first partnership with Pfizer. We believe researchers and scientists around the world should have access to information, which can lead to, and accelerate, better treatment.

Your participation.

If you are eligible to participate, we will send you a 23andMe DNA-saliva kit at no cost. We will ask you to answer a short online survey (15 minutes) about your personal IBD journey, symptoms, response to treatments, etc. Your privacy is important to us and participation is anonymous.

Participation is Anonymous

Benefits for participants.

  • You will receive access to 23andMe's Personal Genome Service® (valued at $99)
  • You will learn about your genetic ancestry.
  • You will have access to your uninterpreted genetic data.

Our promise to you.

We promise quarterly updates on our recruiting progress and promise to answer questions you may have throughout the study. As we grow our participant base and analyze the data, there may be additional opportunities to participate in surveys. If you would like to continue your participation, you will have the opportunity to provide ongoing contributions. We will communicate any additional survey opportunities in the quarterly updates and in your 23andMe.com profile dashboard.

We believe your genetic data can be used for good.

We believe Pfizer has access to great scientists and physicians in this field. They have a lot of experience in developing drugs to help people.

No one can promise a cure or a treatment, but we promise to be transparent in our research efforts and to empower other researchers and scientists with IBD genetic data in a time when resources and funding can be scarce.

We believe your genetic data can be used for good.

See if you're eligible.

IBD is a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. People who have been diagnosed with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis are eligible for this study.

In order to participate in the first study within the IBD community, you must meet all six criteria below:

  1. You've been diagnosed with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis by a qualified physician.
  2. You're willing to submit a saliva sample for DNA testing and complete online surveys related to your condition.
  3. You have access to the internet.
  4. You are at least 6 years old (minors under 18 require parental consent to enroll).
  5. You are not a 23andMe customer.
  6. You reside in the United States.

If you are a current 23andMe customer, learn how you can participate here.

Our scientific advisors.

We believe IBD experts from around the world can help play a critical role in our IBD research community.

We've selected five advisors with a range of IBD expertise globally. They are not part of 23andMe or Pfizer (or any other study partner). They are experts in the IBD field and their experience can range from seeing patients to being a part of cutting edge research. They assist us with survey development, data analysis and help guide our research so our goals are unbiased, not self-serving.

One of our research advisors, Dr. Smarr, suffers from IBD which fuels his drive to search for a better treatment.

FAQ and other resources.

What is the 23andMe IBD Study?

The goal of this study is to answer two main questions:

  1. Why do people get IBD? Are there genetic factors that contribute to the cause and severity of IBD?
  2. How should people be treated? Do genes influence different responses to medications or other treatment?

Currently, the cause of IBD is unknown, but previous research suggests that there is a strong genetic component. The 23andMe web-based platform enables a large group of individuals with IBD to come together to provide valuable information for research, including genetic information (using DNA from saliva) and information about each participant's unique experiences with the disease (using responses from online surveys).


What does it mean to be a research subject in the IBD Study?

There are many aspects to being a research subject. We have summarized the most important ones below. If you have more questions, you can contact us at ibd-help@23andme.com

What will I be asked to do?
We will ask you to provide a DNA sample (from your saliva) for genetic analysis. We will keep this saliva/DNA stored in our laboratory. We will also ask you to complete a number of online surveys about IBD. These could include questions about your diagnosis, treatment, symptoms, medications or family history. We will email you to let you know when to take surveys, and may send reminders if you haven't finished all the available surveys.

How will 23andMe use my data?
We will use your data to answer two main questions:

  1. Why do people get IBD? Are there genetic factors that contribute to the cause and severity of IBD?
  2. How should people be treated? Do genes influence different responses to medications or other treatment?

Put more simply, are there genetic factors that contribute to the cause and severity of IBD and do genes influence different responses to medications or other treatment?

We will compare your genetic data and your survey answers with the genetic data and survey answers of the other research subjects. This allows us to see if certain genetic factors are linked to specific features of IBD.

As part of this study, 23andMe may share your de-identified, individual-level data with qualified research partners. The shared data will be stripped of all identifying components (name, email, address, user ID and password). You are anonymous to Pfizer and other partners in the future.

What are the risks of being a research subject?

  • Being a research subject means that 23andMe and our qualified research partners store your genetic information and survey answers. 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 are not already a 23andMe customer, you may learn information about yourself that you do not anticipate (e.g., your father is not genetically your father, surprising facts related to your ancestry).
  • Please refer to our Terms of Service for more details about the risk of being genotyped.

What are the benefits of being a research subject?
This is a new opportunity to participate in genetics research. As a research subject, you will:

  • Take a direct role in research that may benefit you and other patients with IBD
  • Participate in web-based research from the comfort of your own home
  • Be kept informed of the discovery process as research advances
  • Have the option to learn more about your genetic ancestry.


What do I need to do to participate?

  1. Enroll and consent through the 23andMe website: http://www.23andme.com/ibd
  2. Provide a saliva sample and send it back in the prepaid postage box
  3. Take an online survey by signing in to your 23andMe account (15 minutes)

Will there be more opportunities to contribute to IBD research?

Our first IBD study with Pfizer includes an initial 15-minute survey for all participants to take after enrollment. As we grow our participant base and start to look at the data, there may be an opportunity to participate in additional surveys to enhance the research. If you would like to continue your participation in Pfizer's first study, or future IBD studies with 23andMe, you will have the opportunity to provide ongoing contributions to our IBD research efforts.

We will communicate any additional survey opportunities in the quarterly updates and in your 23andMe.com profile dashboard.


Who can I contact if I have more questions about the IBD Study?

For questions regarding your saliva sample, the online survey, or your account with 23andMe, please contact ibd-help@23andme.com


What are the advantages of participating in this research?

23andMe provides a new opportunity to participate in genetics research. As a participant, you will:

  • Learn about your genetic ancestry and access your uninterpreted genetic data at no cost
  • Take a direct role in research that may benefit you and other patients with IBD
  • Participate in web-based research from the comfort of your own home
  • Be kept informed quarterly on study progress

Why is this study helpful to IBD research?

We believe that this study will enhance research for IBD by:

  • Bringing together a large group of people who have IBD to better understand how genes may influence age of diagnosis, disease progress, symptoms, and different responses to treatments.
  • Expanding access to people who want to participate in research from home.
  • Removing some of the time and cost barriers that can slow progress in other types of studies.

What is the 23andMe Personal Genome Service®?

As part of your participation in this research study, you will receive complimentary access to 23andMe's Personal Genome Service® (PGS). The Personal Genome Service® provides you with your unique personal genetic profile, including your uninterpreted genetic data and information about your ancestry. Reports and features are updated on an ongoing basis as research uncovers new ways in which genetics relates to ancestry.


How long will I have access to 23andMe's Personal Genome Service®?

Your account will continue to receive ancestry 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 platform. Any future upgrades beyond the current technology are not included as a benefit to participation.


Who owns my DNA profile?

You own your genetic data. You will be participating in this research at your own discretion, answering surveys as you wish. You can also withdraw at any time. However, your saliva sample, once submitted to and analyzed by 23andMe, is processed in an irreversible manner and cannot be returned to you.


Will you share my genetic data with third parties?

To increase the chance that meaningful scientific discoveries about your condition are made, 23andMe may share your de-identified, individual-level data with qualified research partners, such as Pfizer. This means, you are anonymous to Pfizer and anyone else we partner with in the future (global researchers, global scientists, etc).

The shared data will be stripped of all identifying components (name, email, address, user ID and password). If 23andMe shares your genetic or self-reported data with a qualified research partner, this action cannot be undone and your data will not be returned to 23andMe.


What does it mean for Pfizer to sponsor this study?

We are working closely with Pfizer medical experts to ensure that the right research questions are being asked and with the patient advocacy community to ensure that patients' best interests are first and foremost.

If a commercial product is developed from this research, rights to the commercial product will belong to 23andMe and/or Pfizer and their collaborators (persons or companies partnering with Pfizer). You and your family will not receive any financial benefits or compensation from or have any rights in any developments, inventions, or other discoveries that might come out of this research.


How do you protect the confidentiality of my data?

23andMe may share only your de-identified, individual-level data with qualified research partners. This means, you are anonymous to Pfizer and anyone else we partner with in future (global researchers, global scientists, etc.).

We built all of our systems to maximize protections of individual level data, 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 identifying 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.

A 100% guarantee in the field of information security does not exist since there are always unknown threats. However, we constantly update our security systems and protocols to deal with new threats, as they become known. We can protect against known factors by applying the best practices developed by the information security community to protect your data.

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 de-identified, individual-level 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.


As a participant in the IBD Research Initiative, you will receive lifetime access to the 23andMe Personal Genome Service®, which includes Information on ancestry and uninterpreted genetic data. You will also receive updates on project-related discoveries.

Your 23andMe profile will not be eligible to create a Community nickname at this time. A Community nickname is required to post, reply to, or follow threads or to join Community groups.

To learn more about this restriction please email ibd-help@23andme.com.


I am an existing 23andMe customer. Can I still join the IBD
Research Initiative?

Currently, existing 23andMe customers cannot join the Pfizer IBD Research Initiative.

However, you CAN still contribute to IBD research by filling out online surveys that ask about things like IBD symptoms, medications and treatments received. Click here to go to the IBD survey and get started contributing to research.


Before you enroll, we recommend reading the below resources:

enroll now

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It looks like you are in the United States

If you are shipping to England, Scotland or Wales continue to the: UK site →


If you are shipping to Ireland visit the: EU site →


Our EU product is in English only, and due to applicable regulations it is only available for customers with a shipping address in Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands. If you are shipping to one of these countries continue to the: EU site →

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