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About the 23andMe Personal Genome Service

23andMe® brings the world of genetics to you. The Personal Genome Service® is offered in over 50 countries. Once your saliva sample reaches our laboratory, results are typically available in your online account within 2-3 weeks.

23andMe analyses variations at specific positions in your genome. These variations, called SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms), have the potential to tell you about your recent ancestry, the origins of your paternal lineage (males only) and maternal lineage, and even your Neanderthal ancestry.

Find out what your genetics say about your ancestry. By analysing your DNA, we can uncover information about your recent ancestry, the origins of your maternal lineage and paternal lineage (males only), and even your Neanderthal ancestry. Each Ancestry report looks at a unique aspect of your family story. You can learn more about how your DNA is used in our Ancestry reports, by selecting the different types of DNA:

    • Autosomal DNA (chromosomes 1–22)
    • X chromosome
    • Y chromosome (males only)
    • Mitochondrial DNA

In addition to our ancestry features, you also have the ability to browse and download your raw genotyped data.

Autosomal DNA (chromosomes 1–22)

Autosomal DNA refers to the 22 non-sex chromosomes, and makes up the bulk of your genome. For each pair of these chromosomes one comes from your mother and the other from your father: two copies of the same recipe with slightly different ingredients. The autosomes – along with the X sex chromosome – are what we use to determine your DNA Relatives, your Ancestry Composition results, and many other features.

Since you inherited sections of your autosomal DNA from all your recent ancestors, this type of DNA is used to tell you about your more recent ancestry. Your autosomal DNA is also used to tell you about your Neanderthal ancestry. The analysis of the 22 autosomes is the same for women and men and provides the same information and level of detail. 

X chromosome

The X chromosome and Y chromosome are referred to as sex chromosomes because they determine if you are female (XX) or male (XY). Women inherited two copies of the X chromosome – one from each parent – while men inherited one X chromosome from their mother and one Y chromosome from their father.

You inherited sections of your X chromosome DNA from particular ancestors on your family tree. This type of DNA is used along with your autosomal DNA to tell you about your recent ancestry and your Neanderthal ancestry.  

Y chromosome

The X chromosome and Y chromosome are referred to as sex chromosomes because they determine if you are female (XX) or male (XY). Men inherited one Y from their father and one X from their mother. Women did not inherit a Y chromosome. This type of DNA is used to tell men about the origins of their patrilineal (your father's father's father's) line.


Women can learn about this ancestry from the haplogroup assignment of their father, brother or paternal uncle. Depending on the information you would like to learn, one relative might be preferable:

  • Your brother’s genotyped sample will provide your mitochondrial (maternal) haplogroup and your Y-chromosome (paternal) haplogroup.
  • A genotyped sample from your father’s or father’s brother will provide your Y-chromosome (paternal) haplogroup, but not your mitochondrial (maternal) haplogroup since he does not share your mother.

Haplogroups are one small part of your ancestry analysis. The 23andMe Personal Genome Service provides you with information from all branches of your family tree using your autosomal DNA.

Mitochondrial DNA

All of us have mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Since your mitochondrial DNA is inherited intact from your mother – and she received it from her mother, and so on – it can shed light on the ancient origins of your maternal ancestors. Maternal haplogroups are families of mitochondrial DNA types that all trace back to a single mutation at a specific place and time. By looking at the geographic distribution of mtDNA types, we learn how our ancestral female ancestors migrated throughout the world.


Recent Ancestry

The majority of our ancestry features use your autosomal DNA and X chromosome DNA to tell you about your recent ancestry across all branches of your family tree. 23andMe provides several methods to help you explore your recent ancestry:

  • You can compare your DNA to that of other 23andMe users in the DNA Relatives feature and the Share and Compare feature.
  • You can view the comparison of your DNA to that of reference datasets in Ancestry Composition to learn about your geographic ancestry.



Maternal Lineage and Paternal Lineage Origins

Discover the origins of your matrilineal (your mother's mother's mother's) and patrilineal (your father's father's father's) ancestors and how they moved around the world over thousands of years in the Haplogroup reports. Haplogroups are assigned by finding the genetic variants that are unique to each group. These genetic variants typically originated tens of thousands of years ago. Women and men both receive the Maternal Haplogroup report based on their mitochondrial DNA; men also receive the Paternal Haplogroup* report based on their Y chromosomes.

*Paternal haplogroups are based on the Y chromosome, which females don't inherit. Women can learn about the origins of some of their ancestors from the paternal haplogroup assignment of male-line relatives, such as fathers, brothers, and paternal uncles. Please note that a woman's recent paternal ancestry is incorporated into the Ancestry Composition report.


Neanderthal Ancestry

Even though Neanderthals vanished about 40,000 years ago, their DNA lives on in us. Based on research, Neanderthals interbred with humans around 60,000 years ago and we are able to tell you how much of your ancestry can be traced back to Neanderthals. 23andMe's Neanderthal Ancestry report is based on SNPs located across all of your autosomes and your X chromosome.



Your DNA Family

The 23andMe Your DNA Family report tells you about the diverse group of 23andMe customers who have DNA in common with you and how many of these DNA Relatives you have around the world. After viewing this report, you can connect with your genetic relatives in the DNA Relatives feature.



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