This past weekend, 23andMe’s Joanna Mountain and Christine Moschella, attended
the 2014 Institute for Genetic Genealogy Conference at the National 4H Center just outside Washington, DC. The conference offered a great opportunity to connect again with genetic genealogists and learn from other experts in the field.Over the three days Joanna, 23andMe’s Director of Research, and Christine, our Community Manager, shared details of some of our ancestry and genealogy features. But the pair were also there to hear feedback directly from our customers, and to answer questions about topics ranging from where things stand with the FDA regulatory process to tips on using our saliva kit.
Joanna presented an overview of two of 23andMe’s most popular tools — DNA Relatives and Ancestry Composition. She went over – their origins, methodologies, and history – highlighting both the science behind these features and how they have been improved over a relatively short time. The purpose for attending the conference was not only to share information with genetic genealogy enthusiasts but also to get feedback about how these customers are currently using the service and to hear ideas for improvements.In numerous presentations and conversations with attendees, we heard about some of the creative ways customers are interacting with the information provided by 23andMe, and learned more about what kind of tools and information genetic genealogists in particular find most important. We also got some feedback about which features could be improved. In some instances, we are already in the process of making those improvements, which we are very excited about. We hope the community continues to provide the kind of constructive feedback that they’ve always given as we improve our ancestry features. Overall it was a fun and intense three days for Joanna and Christine, who said they loved meeting some of our most passionate customers in person. It’s always motivating to hear about the difference that 23andMe has made for customers and how excited they are about what more we could do. It’s an excitement we share. Thank you CeCe Moore and Tim Janzen for organizing the conference, with plenty of help from their family members; we hope that they will organize another such event in the future!