23andMe made a large splash with their entry onto the market in 2009. They were the first (and still really only) to test all the SNPs on all the DNA for the single product. They also drastically cut the price being the first to drop an autosomal test from $500 to $200 initially and quickly then to $100. They received bad press at the start because they had a subscription model to maintain access, similar to the defacto that Ancestry has now, but that was dropped after a few years. Second, they were enjoined by the USA FDA from advertising their “medical reports” testing as they had not gotten certification and approval as a medical provider. This has slowly been lifted although has never affected the ability to offer genetic genealogy testing. With their new, revamped website and change in access rules, many of the customers are no longer available, so directly, in the match database. Needless to say, they have stumbled and some have questioned whether they intend (or ever did) to support the genetic genealogy market. They are still the second largest test database, having been passed by Ancestry’s meteoric growth in 2016 since introducing Autosomal testing and heavily advertising it on television (in the USA).

23andMe Plusses

  • Test all DNA for SNPs: Autosomes, X and Y, and Mitochondria
  • Strong support for match analysis: numeric segment tables, graphical segment match visualization, chromosome browser
  • Best, most believable ethnicity estimator (although a constantly moving target with all)

23andMe Minuses

  • Archaic internal messaging system to contact matches (like Ancestry
  • With website transition, many matches are not available for contact at all but appear in your list
  • Dropped support for linking / importing a GEDCom (genealogy tree)
  • Most out of date Haplogroup reporting (although access to RAW data is there to do your own analysis)

23andMe Common