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Can My DNA Be Genotyped Anonymously?

We have designed our service to give customers control over how much information they share. That includes giving our customers the prerogative to use a pseudonym when connecting with other 23andMe customers, if they wish.

But no matter how you choose to identify yourself in our online community, our Terms of Service require that you provide true and accurate registration information and submit either your own saliva or that of a person from whom you have authorization. What this means is when you register your kit, you must use your real name. Once your kit has been registered, you may change your online profile name to any name you wish to use from within your account settings.

Once your sample reaches the laboratory, it is identified by the unique anonymous barcode printed directly on the sample tube. Your ordering information (shipping address, credit card information, etc.) is stored separately from your genetic data, and connecting the two would require breaching several layers of security.

Finally, our sampling procedure is specifically designed to protect individuals from having their saliva submitted without their permission. The amount of saliva we require, 2.5 milliliters or about a half teaspoon, is far too much to retrieve from a used toothbrush, drinking glass, cigarette butt, etc. In fact, it takes most people a few minutes of concentrated spitting to produce an adequate sample.

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