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23andMe Inc. is a privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company based in Mountain View, California[1] that is providing methods and technologies that will enable consumers to understand their own genetic information. The company is named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a normal human cell.

The 23andMe website is split into four categories: Health and Traits, Ancestry, Sharing and Community and Research.


  • 23andMe was founded in April 2006 by Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey. Esther Dyson is Board Member.
  • The initial cost of 23andMe's product for US-consumers in November 2007 was $999 (580,000 SNPs using Illumina technology).[2]
  • In January 2008 the service was extended to Canada and most countries in Europe. In September 2008 the test was updated from V1 to V2 and the cost reduced to $399. This was possible with the Illumina HumanHap550-Quad+ chip, capable to read about 600,000 SNPs (expanded range) from all chromosomes and the mtDNA.[3]
  • In November 2010 23andMe introduced an alternative pricing option of $199 with a required one-year subscription of $5 a month. The newly introduced V3 test reads almost 1,000,000 SNPs with the Illumina OmniExpress Plus customized chip (base OmniExpress 733,202 SNPs). For both ancestral lineages (mitochondrial DNA and Y-DNA) over 2000 SNPs are recorded making possible Haplogroup Discovery of over 750 maternal lineages and over 500 different paternal lineages.[4][5]
  • In March 2011 the pricing was changed to $99 with $9/month (for at least one year). This subscription would provide subscribers with updates on discoveries made about their DNA over time. A single-fee payment of $399 without the commitment continues also to be available. On the SCGS-Meeting in June 2011 23andMe stated to have tested about 75,000 individuals.[6]
  • On June 15, 2011 23andMe announced in three and a half years of service their database has grown to include the DNA data of more than 100,000 people. Other statistics include 60,000 users had completed on average 10 surveys, 100,000 community forum posts, more than 60,000 pairs of relatives have been discovered, 57% of 23andMe users are male, 47% share their data with other users, and 12% have multiple ancestries.[7]
  • On September 27, 2011 23andMe announced at Health 2.0 in San Francisco a limited enrollment pilot program for current members called Exome 80x. The test will measure 50 million base pairs of the participant's exome at a cost of $999.[8] This new test will not be good for ancestry as the test focuses on the exome and will not measure much of mitochondrial or Y-chromosome DNA.
  • Technical info November 2011: v3-only raw data download has 960,520 SNPs (1,764 for Y-DNA and 2,459 for mtDNA). Relative Finder looks for segments of DNA from a common ancestor (IBD = Identical By Descent). Segments of at least 7 cM (centiMorgans) and at least 700 SNPs are reported. Additional segments need to be at least 5 cM and have at least 700 SNPs.[9]
  • In January 2012 there was a major discussion about the ancestry and genealogical functions of 23andMe. A "Ancestry Ambassador Group" was founded, to canalize user requests. Members are CeCe Moore, Dr. Ann Turner, Larry Vick, Dr. Tim Janzen, Andrea Badger and Shannon Christmas. [10]
  • On March 31, 2012 23andMe announced the release of the first batch of data to early Exome 80x participants, although many more participants are still awaiting their DNA to be sequenced. [11]

23andMe also provides free testing without subscriptions fees to individuals that qualify for certain research initiatives. Current research initiatives include Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, sarcoma, myeloproliferative neoplasms, and the Roots into the Future initiative which explores the connection between DNA and disease in African Americans.[12][13][14][15][16] On March 20, 2012 23andMe announced a new free research initiative for qualifying people with Metastatic Breast Cancer.[17]

Both Google and New Enterprise Associates have invested in 23andMe. Google has invested $3.9M and recently another $2.6M in 23andMe, whose co-founder Anne Wojcicki is married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.[18] Genentech is also reported to have invested in 23andMe.[19]

See also


External links