Pictures of Lilly: Introducing the 23andMe Win Your Genome Contest

mysterywoman.jpgThis woman shares 99.5% of her DNA with Lilly Mendel.

Team 23andMe likes games — Wii tennis and Segway polo are big here. So are friendly wagers over a new employee’s ACTN3 genotype, or whether a given Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulation will converge during our lifetimes.

So in the spirit of friendly competition, we’re starting the 23andMe Win Your Genome Contest. The winner gets our Personal Genome Serviceâ„¢ for one person of his or her choice.

Everybody else gets to try again the next time, as we’re planning on holding a new contest every month or so (though we may skip a month from time to time).

The winner of our inaugural competition will be the person who can best describe Lilly Mendel, a real person whose genetic data can be seen with a free 23andMe demo account.

We don’t require you to include any particular characteristics, but obviously the major physical traits in Gene Journal (now called Health and Traits) (height, weight, eye color, etc.) are a good place to start.

Creative speculation is allowed and encouraged. Think you know where Lilly’s grandparents were born? Her favorite movie? Her sleeping habits? Anything goes, but you must justify every element of your description with some aspect of Lilly’s genetic data. So even if you think you know who Lilly is based on other lines of reasoning, you’ll still need a SNP and a convincing or at least amusing argument as to why you think it indicates an inordinate fondness for the Beatles.

Entries will be judged on an entirely subjective scale — the winner will be whichever description we consider the best based on accuracy, creativity and cleverness. The winner’s description will be revealed on this blog — but Lilly’s identity will not.

Send your entries to [email protected]. The deadline is midnight Pacific time on Friday, May 9. One final note: We can accept entries only from United States residents who are 18 years of age and older.

Want to know every last detail? There’s a ton of fine print after the jump.

Photo from V2-Media/istockphoto

The 23andMe Win Your Genome Contest Official Rules


1. Eligibility: The 23andMe Win Your Genome Contest (the “Contest”) is open to legal residents of the U.S., age 18 or older, who have an active e-mail account and Internet access as of the beginning of the Contest period. Employees of 23andMe and its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and fulfillment agencies, their immediate family members and persons living in their same household, are not eligible to participate in the Contest. Participation in the Contest constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules (“Official Rules”).

2. To Enter: 23andMe will announce each new Contest on its website at, including the beginning and end dates and times for entries (the “Contest Period”). To enter a Contest, email your entry to [email protected] One entry per person. All entries must be received by 23andMe during the Contest Period to be eligible.

3. Selection of Winners: Entries will be judged based on the criteria described in the applicable Contest announcement, by a panel of 23andMe employees appropriate for the particular Contest. The decisions of the judges will be final. In the case of any ties, winners will be selected at random from correct entries. Winners will be notified by e-mail.

4. Prizes: Eligible winners will receive the Personal Genome Service (“PGS”) for one person of his or her choice (approximate retail value $999). One prize will be awarded in each Contest. Each PGS shall be subject to 23andMe terms and conditions. Winners are solely responsible for any and all federal, state, and local taxes that apply to prizes, and must provide appropriate taxpayer identification information to 23andMe for reporting purposes. No cash or other substitution of prizes is permitted, except at the sole option of 23andMe for a prize of equal or greater value. 23andMe will not replace any lost or stolen prizes. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries.

5. Notification of Winners: Winners will be notified by e-mail within five (5) business days of selection, and may be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and publicity/liability release within fourteen (14) days of notification. If a selected Winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim a prize and/or where applicable an affidavit of eligibility and publicity/liability release is not timely received, is incomplete or modified, the prize may be forfeited and an alternate Winner will be selected from remaining valid, eligible entries timely submitted. In the event of a dispute regarding who submitted an entry, the entry will be deemed submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail account specified in the entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. No automatically generated entries will be accepted.

6. General Rules: By entering, you agree to be bound by these Official Rules. The Contest is offered by 23andMe, Inc., 2606 Bayshore Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, which is not responsible for late, lost, delayed, damaged, postage-due, incomplete, illegible, or misdirected entries, responses, or other correspondence, whether by e-mail or postal mail or otherwise, or for theft or destruction or unauthorized access or alterations of entry materials, phone, electrical, network, computer, hardware, software program or transmission malfunctions, failures or difficulties. By participating and winning a prize, Winner releases 23andMe, its affiliates, subsidiaries, directors, officers, employees, and agents, from any and all liability with respect to the Contest or the acceptance, possession or use of any prize, including without limitation (i) any condition caused by events beyond 23andMe’s control that may cause the Contest to be disrupted or corrupted; (ii) any injuries, losses, or damages (compensatory, direct, incidental, consequential or otherwise) of any kind arising in connection with or as a result of the prize, or acceptance, possession, or use of the prize, or from participation in the Contest; and (iii) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Contest. 23andMe’s decisions in all respects relative to the Contest are final. 23andMe reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, modify or suspend the Contest in whole or in part, in the event of fraud, technical or other difficulties or if the integrity of the Contest is compromised, without liability to the entrant. 23andMe reserves the right to disqualify any winner, as determined by 23andMe in its sole discretion. All federal, state, and local regulations apply.

7. Additional Conditions: Except where prohibited, by accepting any prize, Winner consents to the use of his/her name, photo and/or likeness, biographical information, winning entry and statements attributed to winner (if true) for advertising and promotional purposes without additional compensation. All entries become property of 23andMe and none will be acknowledged or returned. Allow two (2) weeks for delivery of the Spit Kit, the first step in obtaining the PGS.

8. Winner’s List, Official Rules: For a list of prize winners or a copy of these Official Rules, send your request and a stamped, self-addressed envelope to The 23andMe Win Your Genome Contest, 23andMe, Inc., 2606 Bayshore Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043 or (for Winner’s list only) send an email message to [email protected] with “Winner’s list” as the email subject and the applicable month Contest in the body of the e-mail.