My favorite capabilities at 23andme are: finding new relatives with DNA and comparing them in the chromosome browser, looking at my ancestry composition in depth, and having the ability to look up specific genes. Most of the recent changes at 23andme are to the ancestry composition tools, specifically there is more granularity in the areas it shows for your ancestors’ origins.
With three generations of Munsons on 23andme, thanks to my niece’s recent test, I can finally evaluate the GrandTree. This tool, found on the Family & Friends menu, lets you look at what you inherited from each grandparent. Not surprisingly my niece LM got way more from my mother, whose mother she strongly resembles, than from my Dad. There is no guarantee that you will get exactly 25% from each grandparent. In my case, I got more from my maternal grandfather which I deduce from my 28% jewish ethnicity.
This tool will look at the traits and health items tracked through the generations even if you did not buy the health reports. This will be discussed in more detail later in this article. Meanwhile, I will do a quick review of the current 23andme basics as a guide for my niece and any other new testers reading this.
Finding DNA relatives and comparing them in the chromosome browser
Click on DNA relatives on either the Ancestry menu or the Family & Friends menu to look at your cousin list. Here are my previous posts on this topic, still fairly accurate:
- Click here for my post on using the DNA Relatives match list. Note that the information your matches see about you can be changed or added to by clicking Settings in the drop down menu on the top right under your name and initials or picture if you uploaded one.
- Click here for my post on the page for a specific match and using the chromosome browser. Note that there is no longer a click point on the DNA relatives page to go straight to the chromosome browser. Instead just click on DNA Comparison on the drop down menu under Family & Friends.
- Click here for my discussion of the automated triangulation feature found at the bottom of the page for a specific match.
Looking up a specific gene
You can look up a specific gene or marker in the Browse Raw Data function which is found on the menu under your name. Click here for my blog post about the AIDS resistant gene which details how to do that type of look up.
The great thing about the ancestry composition display at 23andme is that it shows you the details by chromosome. None of the other testing companies do that. What’s more if you put your cursor on a specific ethnicity, it will highlight just those segments on the diagram. Click on Ancestry Composition on the Ancestry menu to get to the page with the most details, including the chromosome by chromosome display.
My family members asked me to write a 23andme tutorial, so here it is. Let me know what else I should put here.
The three things most people like best at 23andme are learning about their health issues (currently disabled for new kits because of the FDA ruling), their ancestral places of origin, and finding DNA cousins (my term for people who share DNA that thus, must be related, however distantly). There is a wealth of other fun information available like how much Neanderthal DNA you have in you, but this post will mainly just cover those first three areas.
When you log in to 23andme you will see a page something like this.
You can click on Home in that top bar from any page on the site to return to this page. The ancestry composition box shown mid-page may not yet be ready for your sample if your results are just in.
To edit your profile, click on your name or photo on the far top right to get a menu with that option. If you have any messages the envelope at the top right will get a green background and show the number of messages you have as in the example below. Click on it to read them. I advise switching to email if you start to communicate with someone regularly as there are no tools to search the inbox unless you use chrome and the 23+ addon.
UPDATE 10 Mar 2020: This Beta feature has been removed. Complain to 23andme if you miss it.
You can connect your family tree at FamilySearch to your 23andme profile as part of a Beta test of this exciting new feature. Then your DNA relatives can see the names of your grandparents (if deceased), great grandparents, and so on, via a nice compact list where every generation is clickable to see the full names, dates, and locations. Plus they can even click on a specific ancestor to go to that profile at FamilySearch! Only a preview is shown until they log in there.
Click on any down arrow in the compact ancestor list to see the names for that generation.
Click on any person of interest from that list to go to their profile at FamilySearch. Then maybe the View My Relationship tool, at the top right of a profile, will find the relationship. This is somewhat limited at the moment. Although it shows the pathway, it does not name the relationship.
This can make it easy to find your common ancestor although I have to wonder why 23andme does not do that for you. It would be incredibly simple to program that, since there is only one copy of each person on the one world tree at FamilySearch. In other words, it is nowhere near as difficult to do as ThruLines from Ancestry or the Theory of Family Relativity from MyHeritage.
If you opt in to Beta testing at 23andme, your DNA relatives list will show a special little green icon of the FamilySearch logo on the far right next to anyone who has connected their tree. Clicking on that person to go the detailed match page will now include the FamilySearch tree information there as shown above.
The Beta test also includes an family search label and icon at the bottom of the left column on the DNA Relatives list which indicates how many of your matches have connected to FamilySearch. Dear cousins, get to work, five is not very many yet!
So how do you make this connection?