23andMe Publishes in PLoS Genetics, Validates New Research Paradigm

23andMe is proud to announce the first publication to come out of 23andWe, our novel participant-driven research program.  

Our results, which encompass replications of previous findings as well as newly discovered associations, appear online today in PLoS Genetics.

23andWe is a web-based research framework designed to facilitate the rapid recruitment of participants to many studies at once, thus reducing the time and money needed to make new discoveries.

“This paper announces and validates a revolutionary way of conducting scientific research,” said our President and Co-Founder, Anne Wojcicki.   “In this paper we confirm that self-reported data from our customers has the potential to yield data of comparable quality as data gathered using traditional research methods.  We are excited about moving scientific research forward, faster.”

(Check out “Sergey’s Search” in the current issue of Wired to learn how this approach is allowing us to validate genetic associations in a fraction of the time traditionally needed.   And check out this recent Spittoon post to read about some of our other 23andWe successes.) Over 9,000 people contributed data to our study of 22 separate traits. Novel SNP associations were revealed for hair curl, asparagus anosmia (the inability to detect the scent of certain asparagus metabolites in urine), the photic sneeze reflex (the tendency to sneeze when entering bright light), and freckling.  

Previously identified genetic associations between nine genes and certain pigmentation-related traits (hair color, eye color, and freckling) were replicated. 23andMe chose to publish its results in PLoS Genetics because of the journal’s open-access policy, which allows anyone–including 23andMe customers who contributed to the research–to freely access the study.   Customers will also see the results incorporated into the reports available in their online accounts.

Read more in this 23andMe press release.

  • Hi – I just posted this to Linda’s blog (http://bit.ly/ccqclR) it’s relevant to you too, so here it is. well done!

    Linda – congratulations to you and the 23andme team, the PLOS Genetics paper is a landmark. Considering that it takes approx 10+ yrs to conceive and complete a clinical trial, which often is just asking a simple set of questions (and often failing to answer, esp for the causes of complex diseases) it has been clear for some time that something needs to change.

    This has been enabled by cheap genotyping – over at our (tiny) Eurogene project we have been working up (also over the last 5 years) a sort of similar research model(but through clinics rather than DTC). We are extremely glas that you have proven the concept at a critical time for us as we look for the next phase of funding. So thanks very much!


  • Richard Sutter

    I took the test last summer in Palo Alto and never received my results.
    Can you help me locate them.


    • Hi Richard,

      Please contact our customer service team at help@23andme.com – they should be able to help you!

  • Peggy Sange

    I want to give my consent to publish the findings from the 23 and me research. I am a participant.

    Please send me directions on how to do this.

    Thanks. –Peggy Sange

    • Hi Peggy,

      That’s great! We are always excited when our customers want to participate. You can check your consent settings and change them if needed by going to https://www.23andme.com/user/edit/privacy/#consent in your account (near the bottom of the page). If you need further assistance, please contact our customer service team.