Jun 6, 2024 - Ancestry

Discover Distant Genetic Groups with 23andMe+ Premium

23andMe+® Premium members can now dive deeper into their heritage with Distant Genetic Groups: a new feature for Ancestry Composition.

A map showing distant genetic groups in France

Since the launch of Genetic Groups in 2020 as a new type of detailed results within Ancestry Composition, customers on the V5 chip have been able to see their close matches (previously labeled “Highly Likely” or “Likely” within the feature). These matches usually represent close family or recent connections.

Over the past few years, many customers have asked if we could go further back in time or lower the shared DNA requirements to find more distant ancestral connections.

To provide these customers with even more information about their more distant connections to Genetic Groups, we evaluated different thresholds at which we felt we could still deliver meaningful results and settled on an approach that achieved these goals. 

Thanks to this additional R&D, we are now allowing 23andMe+ Premium members to view their more distant connections to Genetic Groups. 

Importantly, we are not removing or hiding Genetic Group matches that non-Premium members can already see. When we release new regions in the future, non-Premium members will still be able to view their very close connections to those regions.  

Because of the nature of these analyses and because we are continuing to roll out new Genetic Groups around the world, not all 23andMe+ Premium members have distant Genetic Group matches. 

A map of the world showing where 23andMe has updated Distant Genetic Groups

Recently, we’ve added 36 Genetic Groups in France and Belgium, 13 Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewish groups, 26 groups in the Levant, and 21 Indigenous American groups in South America, and many more are coming soon. 

What are Genetic Groups, and what is a “Distant” connection?

Genetic Groups are groups of people with significant genetic similarity to each other, who may share ethnic identities, languages, or other similar characteristics. 

“Distant” matches to Genetic Groups reflect meaningful DNA connections to Genetic Groups that may be: 

  • Further back in time 
  • Through fewer ancestors
  • Or otherwise harder to detect

What does it mean to have a Distant match? 

Distant matches can mean different things for different parts of the world, but each match still represents a meaningful amount of shared DNA. Typically, a distant match could mean that you share DNA with multiple people in that Genetic Group but the total amount of shared DNA does not meet our threshold for assigning matches at a higher confidence level.

Sometimes, these matches may reflect very distant ancestral connections, particularly if the population shares high amounts of DNA. Other times, these matches may reflect more recent connections through fewer shared ancestors. 

How to find out if you have Distant Genetic Group connections

An image showing Sephardic and Mizrahi ancestral distant genetic groups.

If you are a 23andMe+ Premium member, visit your Ancestry Composition results and look for “new” tags to see if you have any distant matches. Click on the population or populations with the “new” tag and look for Genetic Groups with a “new” tag and an in-line Distant match strength. 

Not a 23andMe+ Premium member? 

If you are not a 23andMe+ Premium member and want to know if you would have any “Distant” Genetic Groups if you were to become a member, follow these steps:

  1. Indicate in the Personalized Recommendations Consent that you would like to receive Personalized Recommendations.
  2. After consenting to receive personalized recommendations, browse your Ancestry Composition results by clicking on each of your populations.
  3. Look for a notification within your detailed ancestry results that you have a Distant Genetic Group match.
  4. Please keep in mind you may not have any Distant Genetic Group connections at this time. 
Ancestry Composition with link to distant genetic groups in Britan and Ireland.

How to find out if you are a 23andMe+ Premium member: 

  1. Go to your account settings at https://you.23andme.com/user/
  2. View the “Personal Information” section and find the section called “Membership.” 
  3. If you are not a member, it will say, “Not a 23andMe+ Premium member.”

What else is included with 23andMe+ Premium

Do you want to upgrade to 23andMe+ Premium to view your Distant Genetic Group connections but are unsure if it’s worth it just for that? 

23andMe+ Premium has so much more, including Historical MatchesSM, up to 5000 (3x) DNA relatives, Advanced DNA Relative filters, exclusive reports Powered by 23andMe Research including ADHD, depression, atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, migraine, lupus and more. These reports and features are powered by our latest genetic research and peer-reviewed studies. 

Not yet a 23andMe customer?

Purchase a new kit with one year membership included: https://www.23andme.com/membership/ 

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