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

paternalscreenshot.jpgGenetics 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 GenerationThe 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 MendelsFinally, 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.
  • patrickglad

    The demo account is great and allows a complete browse through the genome. I do research on genomics and the genome browser is about the most accesible method I have come across to get info out of a genechip. lots and lots of useful SNPs, with function known already, still to be shown in the gene journal….are you looking for contributors?

  • robertblandford

    I’m of English and Scots-Irish ancestry. Why isn’t there an “English” category? Are those who lived around Stone-Henge included in the Irish or Orcadians?

  • A lot of people ask why some major ethnic groups, such as English and Spanish, are not included in our population similarity feature. The reason is that we are limited to the populations that scientists have sampled in detail. To date, researchers have focused on capturing as much human genetic diversity as they can. So some small, remote populations such as the Hazara and Xibo are better known than much more common ones.

    We’ve been looking for data on the populations that are most likely to interest our customers, and expect to add more as time goes on.

    As to your question about the people who lived around Stonehenge — they are likely to share ancestry with a number of western European populations, including the Irish, Germans, French, Basques and Orcadians.

  • cresident

    When only the maternal ancestry was shown, I could see much more detail about my ancestry. With the new updates on paternal ancestry, I only get a very generic ancestry: Northern European. I would like to see the details on specific groups within Europe for both maternal and paternal lineage. Or is this already available but I can’t find it…?


  • Just to clarify … The change you’ve detected is independent of the new Paternal Ancestry feature. We recently turned off the more detailed view in the Global Similarity feature, which measures your genetic distance in comparison to various populations around the world. We expect to roll out an improved version of that detailed view this spring, but for the time being we’re only gauging your similarity to world populations at a regional level.