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What can 23andMe do for me if I am adopted?

23andMe® can give adoptees a unique glimpse into their genetic legacy. In your DNA, we can find genetic traces of where your ancestors lived throughout history. The 23andMe Services report on your mitochondrial DNA as well as your autosomes and sex chromosomes.

There are a few reports and features that are especially helpful for adoptees:


Finding Biological Relatives

23andMe is not a service designed to help people find their biological parents, but one feature can help you find and connect with genetic relatives. 

DNA Relatives Feature

DNA Relatives is a feature that compares your DNA to other 23andMe users that are participating in DNA Relatives and predicts a relationship based on the amount of DNA you share. These shared segments indicate that two people are related through a common ancestor. The number of relatives you will be matched to can vary due to the demographics of our customers. For example, people with European or Ashkenazi ancestry often have many matches while people with Asian and Middle Eastern ancestry will likely have fewer matches.

You can be confident that the matches listed in DNA Relatives are your relatives, even though they may be quite distantly related to you. The vast majority of relatives found by DNA Relatives share a common ancestor within the last five to ten generations. A few may be more distantly related. There is, however, the possibility of finding a much closer relative.

Your DNA Family Report

Your DNA Family report tells you about the diverse group of 23andMe customers who have DNA in common with you and how many these DNA Relatives you have around the world. This report is available to you whether or not you choose to participate in the DNA Relatives feature, but to connect with your genetic relatives you will need to opt in to the DNA Relatives feature.



Regardless of whether or not you are interested in finding biological relatives, we have a number of features that can provide you with information about your genetic ancestry.

Our Ancestry Composition report can provide you with insight into your recent ancestry. The feature estimates the percent of your DNA comes from each of 45 populations worldwide, offering a detailed view of your ancestry from before ocean-crossing ships and airplanes were on the scene. The report also compares your DNA to individuals of known ancestry from countries and territories in Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania, to tell you more about where your ancestors may have lived within the last 200 years. This feature analyzes the autosomal DNA that you inherited in equal parts from each of your parents, so Ancestry Composition can tell an adopted person about their recent ancestry from both sides of their family.

The Haplogroup reports offer a different vantage point. The Haplogroup reports can shed light on the origins of just a few of our ancestors and on their migrations over tens of thousands of years. Your maternal haplogroup assignment tells you about your maternal-line ancestors, from your mother through her mother and beyond. If you are male, your paternal haplogroup tells you about your paternal-line ancestors, from your father to his father and beyond. Because females do not have Y chromosomes, they do not have paternal haplogroups. Females can still learn about their recent paternal ancestry in our Ancestry Composition report. Learn more.


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