May 4, 2017 - 23andMe and You

Meet Your DNA Family


Inside each of us is a beautiful, rich genetic story. Some of which is told through the people with whom we are related.

23andMe’s new Ancestry Report has reimagined how you see these relatives — both close and distant — not just matching you with people with whom you share pieces of DNA, but putting those matches into context that tells you something about yourself.

Our new Ancestry Report introduces you to the 23andMe customers who make up Your DNA Family in a whole new way.

Your DNA Relatives, Let’s Do the Numbers

So how many relatives are we talking about, here? As you trace your family tree back in time, you can see that you have more ancestors with each generation. Look back 150 to 200 years, for instance, and you likely have 64 fourth-great grandparents. That many people have a lot of descendants. In fact, using a simple model where each family has only two to three children, we estimate that the average person has 4,700 fifth cousins out there!

You can find a number of these cousins when you use 23andMe’s DNA Relatives tool. Most 23andMe customers find hundreds, or even thousands of DNA Relatives who have also chosen 23andMe to explore their genetic heritage. That’s a lot of people — and a lot of stories — to sort through!

Your DNA Family helps you get started with a high-level overview of your 23andMe DNA Relatives grouped by their prediction relationship to you. These groups include close relationships (up to second cousins), third to fourth cousins, and distant cousins (5th cousins or more distant).

The significance of these distant cousins isn’t so much about the number of matches you have, but what these matches can tell you about your family history. You may see this in how your DNA relatives share surnames, or ancestry or hometowns. This information could help inform some of what you may already know about your ancestors and where they came from. Or you may learn something new.

See Your DNA Relatives Around the World

Seeing your relatives in a new way offers you insight about your ancestry you might not otherwise have. The Your DNA Family report features map to show you the distribution of your DNA Relatives across the United States and around the world.

The pattern of how those matches plot on that map may reflect both decades-old migration  or more recent patterns. But they tell you a story that could include a family lodged in one region generation after generation, or ancestors who immigrated across continents or oceans seeking new opportunities.

Ancestry Composition Patterns

Human history is the story of migration, and clues to that story is also found in your DNA.

While your history is tied to the history of each of your cousins through at least one common ancestor, it is also tied to specific regions in the world.

23andMe’s Ancestry Composition can show you the mix of ancestry you have, but we’ve also added in features that help you compare that mix with your DNA Relatives.

This helps you explore the commonalities and differences in your ancestry. You can see this in a summary of the Ancestry Compositions of your DNA Relatives. You’ll find out how many different populations are represented in the ancestry of your DNA Family as well as how many of your relatives have ancestry from each of those populations.

Traits of Your DNA Relatives

23andMe’s New Ancestry Report also looks at this pool of DNA Relatives and asks what beyond segments of DNA do you share.

By looking at shared traits, the new report offers you another way of looking your DNA Family.  For instance, maybe you have more DNA Relatives who can wiggle their ears, or a chorus of singers with perfect pitch. Perhaps your DNA Family has more than its fair share of vegetarians.

The New Ancestry Report looks at  a collection of common habits, tastes, characteristics and abilities — drawn from responses to  surveys 23andMe customers answer —  and then we tell you how your DNA Family stands out. We can do that by comparing the percentage of your DNA Relatives who report having each trait to the matching percentage of all 23andMe customers.

A Starting Point for Your DNA Relative Search

Want to dig further? Connect with relatives using the DNA Relatives tool. In the tool, you can find individual relatives and explore their profiles one at a time. Message your cousins to share information, and compare DNA segments with multiple matches to find clues to your shared family history.

To begin and end with words from our CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki:

“Every day I watch people connect with their DNA family, and see how the concept of family can evolve into something greater — and even more meaningful.”
Find out how your DNA Family can help you discover your rich genetic story.

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