23andMore: Paternal Ancestry, Free Demo Accounts and an Expanded Gene Journal

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Genetics is big on twos. Chromosomes come in pairs. So do DNA strands – the two twisting halves of the molecule fit together perfectly, with every A matched to a T and every G to a C.

That’s why we consider the latest additions to the 23andMe website particularly cosmic. Each one perfectly complements an existing aspect of 23andMe to create a pair.

Groovy.

Eve, Meet Adam

23andMe customers have always been able to explore their maternal ancestry. Now, with the introduction of our much-anticipated paternal ancestry feature, they can trace their paternal lines as well. Men can use this tool to trace their male lines back to the father of us all, a man who lived in Africa an estimated 125,000 years ago.

Because the paternal ancestry feature requires a Y-chromosome, we can’t apply it directly to our female customers. But women who are sharing their data with a father, brother or another man on their paternal line can dig into their male ancestry through that person. Customers can go here to set up sharing.

The paternal ancestry feature is included in your account – no additional sample is necessary.

Gene Journal: The Next Generation

The new Gene Journal (now called Health and Traits) covers an additional 30 conditions and traits, more than doubling the total number of entries. More apropos of our theme, there are now two classes of entries – Established Research and Preliminary Research – to reflect the fact that science often takes months or years to confirm the latest results. Established Research entries have the same authority behind them that the old Gene Journal (Health and Traits) articles did – they’re based on large, replicated studies predominantly published in major scientific journals. But because intriguing new studies that don’t quite meet those criteria are coming out so quickly, we’ve added the Preliminary Research entries to give you a sneak peak at how the latest findings may apply to your genome.

Gene Journal (Health and Traits) also has a new look that we think gives you the same information in a clearer format.

Meet the Mendels

Finally, we know that there are two kinds of people who are interested in 23andMe. Some of you placed your orders the minute you heard about our service. But for those who want to know a little more before deciding, we’ve created a way to set up a free demo account that lets you explore all the features of our service using genetic data from our sample family, the Mendels.

23andMe customers can also share their own data with demo accounts – so if you early adopters would like to show your genetic profile to a friend or relative who is not yet a 23andMe customer, just have them establish a demo account and then set up sharing with them.