23andMe Research Findings: From You, Back to You

It’s been nearly a year since we published our first scientific paper. Titled “Web-based, Participant-Driven Studies Yield Novel Genetic Associations for Common Traits,” the paper demonstrated that 23andWe, our revolutionary new research model, works.

Since then we’ve been making exciting progress, applying the research framework to dozens of common medical conditions, studies of drug response, infectious diseases, and more physical traits. Our database is also growing larger every day, making this one of the largest collaborative research projects in the world, and certainly the largest one where every research participant has access to his or her own genetic data.

We believe research is a two-way process, where participants are valued as partners in scientific discovery. As part of our commitment to involving everyone in the research process, we’ve launched 23andMe Research Findings, a regularly updated public gallery of some of the latest findings to come out of our ongoing research.

A few of these findings have already been published and may be familiar, but others are completely new. Many will be incorporated into published papers in the future. And while some may never make it into a scientific journal — findings may ultimately fail to be confirmed or may be on more, shall we say, “niche” topics — we still feel it’s important to keep everyone updated on our progress, especially those who have contributed to the research effort.

This month, our gallery features three brand new findings:

New genetic factors for hypothyroidism
23andWe research suggests two novel connections between genetics and hypothyroidism, and implicates two other thyroid-related genes. Hypothyroidism affects about 5% of the population, especially women over the age of 50.

Wet and dry earwax isn’t just about one gene
Earwax type is traditionally thought to be determined by a single gene, ABCC11, but our research suggests that another gene, PKD1L3, is also involved. (Photo credit: Gregory F. Maxwell)

Allergies of a feather flock together — sometimes
It’s not surprising that people with allergies tend to be allergic to multiple things, but which allergies group together in our research participants and which don’t might not be exactly what you’d expect.

Read more about these and other 23andMe Research Findings, and stay tuned for more!