Widely known as one of the biggest DNA testing services in the world, 23 and Me has caught the attention of countless curious members. The intrigue surrounding just what information this test can provide it’s users with is warranted given its position in a competitive market, and for those seeking more information about their genetic ancestry, it can be difficult to decide. Here, we’re reviewing the genetic ancestry test from 23 and Me to determine just how well it stands up against its competitors.
The 23 and Me test itself consists of a tube for your saliva, a funnel lid you can use when spitting into the tube with a lid that will snap into place and release a stabilising liquid to preserve your saliva while it is in transit, and a cap to screw into place after removing the funnel lid. You’ll also receive packaging for the tube, which you can throw away upon removing the tube, a bag to store your tube of saliva in, and a step-by-step instructions guide with plenty of helpful tips to get you started.
The 23 and Me test promises genetic reports that are “backed by science” and results that come from over 750 maternal and 500 paternal lineages. You can find out your Neanderthal genetic variants, and find out what proportion of your DNA comes from different regions all over the world. There is a helpful video on the ‘how it works’ section of the website that can provide you with more information in just three minutes, which is definitely helpful for those with no, or limited knowledge as to how the process works.
The ordering process is thankfully straightforward. The kit costs £79 for the Ancestry test or £149 for the Health + Ancestry Kit, and after you order through a simple check out procedure, your kit should arrive within 3 working days. The kit is delivered through DHL, and you’ll be pleased to know that the return cost has been paid so there’s no additional payment that needs to be made. However, 23 and Me meet their downfall here, as you’ll need to find a DHL Express location in order to send your sample back to the lab, which can be inconvenient if you don’t live nearby! After sending it off, you should receive a confirmation that they have received it in under a week.
Online registration is fairly simple, but can only take place after you’ve received your kit. Simply select ‘register your kit’ at the top of the website and you’ll be taken to a sign up page, where you can enter your email, name, birthdate and read and confirm that you’ve read the terms and conditions and you can move onto the next step. Here, you’ll enter the password, set a security question, and then you’ll be prompted to enter the barcode of your test.
TYou’ll receive an email around 8 weeks later telling you when your results are available. After signing into your account, you’ll be given a ‘recommended for you’ section that gives you a quick overview of some of your results, and a featured content area that can link you to surveys, video resources and more. Your results will come in the following categories (and more!):
- Ancestry Composition – This section will give you a breakdown of where your DNA relatives are from. You can find out which regions and populations your DNA is likely to have come from, and you can even take a look at the time periods in which your ancestors are likely to have been in any one area.
- DNA Relatives – Your DNA Relatives results aren’t classed as a result, exactly, but is instead classed as a ‘tool’ in which you can find out just how many members of the 23 and Me database you are related to.
- DNA Family – This section gives you an overview of the people you share DNA with, including: Close Family to Second Cousins, Third to Fourth Cousins, and Fifth to Distant Cousins.
- Neanderthal Ancestry – This section reports how many Neanderthal genetic variants you have. This will reveal just how much Neanderthal genetics could have contributed to your DNA.
All in all, 23 and Me has an efficient delivery and return process, easy ordering and sign-ups, comprehensive results to explore, and will even give you the opportunity to contact potential relatives to find out more information. While it has it’s downfalls in that you’ll need to reach a DHL Express in order to send it back, the ease in the process is reason enough to consider 23 and Me over its competitors. The features of the site and the kit are well-presented and user friendly, and there are dozens more tools available for your results than with other DNA testing companies. With the addition of the Neanderthal section, there’s something different on offer too, which could even make up for the vagueness of the relative categories in the DNA family section. Overall, however, 23 and Me truly is an excellent service with fully comprehensive results and ease of use on offer for its members..