Many months ago we were promised that the transition would come in August. Last week on July 15, several of my accounts got an email that it was coming in a few days. Today, twelve days later, two of the ten or so accounts I manage at 23andme got emails that they have actually transitioned to the new experience, mine and my dad’s.
This is particularly exciting for me as I can now try out the new automated triangulation tool (click for previous blog post on that) with Dad and my Norwegian 3rd cousin. You need to participate in open sharing to have access to this tool.
When I visited Norway last summer, kits in hand, my third cousin gave me his DNA, so of course he got the new 23andme. I did a blog post on the new experience with his kit and went into the details of how to do the things I was used to doing on the old site on the new site – comparing people, asking for shares, checking new relatives, and so on. In this post, I will try not to repeat myself but rather to report on how the transition worked for me.
If your kit has transitioned, when you log in you see a big green button that says Get started that you have to click, as in the image above.. Continue reading
An exciting triangulation feature has just been released at 23andme. It is only for profiles that have transitioned to the new site and have selected open sharing (for now). The feature shows you the relatives you have in common with one other profile and whether or not they triangulate with the two of you.
To use this tool you go to Tools > DNA relatives > People and pick a DNA relative to look at. At the top of the comparison page there is a menu item “Relatives.” Click on it to skip down the page where you will see a display like this (names removed for privacy):
When there is a “Yes” in the right hand column, there is a DNA segment in common between the two people you are comparing and this third person thus you triangulate. A “No” means that although you each share DNA with this relative, there is no segment of DNA where all three of you match. Click on the Yes (or a No) to see the three of you compared in the chromosome browser.
Once in the chromosome browser, you can use the “Update View – Edit” to add more people to the comparison with the first person. This is the same chromosome browser that you get to from Tools > DNA relatives > DNA
Jason Lee has done a nice write up with more details on his DNA blog at Tumblr:
Sadly you cannot use this tool with relatives still on the old site, since they have not yet been able to opt in to “Open Sharing” yet.
A while back I did a blog post explaining how to navigate the new 23andme (click here to read that). A number of my complaints in that post are now fixed. Most importantly, the ability to search for people to compare on the DNA Relatives > DNA page is there plus a table view which gives the numbers.
I cannot agree with the genetic genealogists who are abandoning 23andme due to the problems with its change over to their new web site, as well as the perceived lack of response to genetic genealogists. 23andme never made a secret of the fact that they are in this to research the genetics of various medical conditions. That is fine with me, as my extended family has many medical issues to look into, most, thankfully quite minor. They did make some nice tools for genealogists to attract more users into their database, but we have never been their primary concern.
While I do recommend Ancestry.com DNA testing for most new testers, many of my cousins want the medical information and so are willing to pay the extra for 23andme. It also has the best ancestry composition of the big three.
Personally though, my main reason for being patient and staying with 23andme is that I have found so many Norwegian and Norwegian-American cousins there (over 30) while only one or two at the other companies. Maybe we Scandinavians just have more genetic health issues. I also like the ability to compare cousins to each other and look at the ancestry composition by chromosome (although that is currently gone on the new site).
While 23andme is changing over to their new system, those of us with kits still on the old system have struggled to contact and share with our new matches. Initially we could not send shares to new matches so had to message them and ask them to send us a share. Thankfully that is fixed.
One of my cousin’s kits that I manage has transitioned to the new 23andme. Here is the scoop. Most everything you do on the site seems to require that you go through a tutorial before you can participate and most everything seems to have been simplified.
You do have to review your profile information and choose to opt into the Open Sharing the first time you log in. Open sharing lets your matches compare their DNA to yours to see if there are any matching segments without going through the introduction message process. This is recommended if you are doing 23andme for genealogy or adoption research.
The problem is that those of us who are deeply into using DNA for ancestry research will be disappointed by some of the loss of functionality on the new version of the site as well as by the fact that some functions are significantly clunkier for us.
The new main menu is greatly simplified, definitely an improvement. Instead of those fancy drop downs you have just four items; Home, Reports, Tools, and Research plus the little green icon with the number of messages you have listed. You have to click one of those to get to further menus.
Existing ftDNA customers get coupons
Both Family Tree DNA ($89) and AncestryDNA ($79) have Christmas sales for their DNA kits (those prices do not include shipping). I think the Ancestry.com DNA testing sale will last only until November 20th. Family Tree DNA‘s sale is on until the end of the year. In contrast 23andme just doubled their price but is adding new interfaces and health results.
Family Tree DNA has special gift coupons for existing customers; so log in every week and see what you have. Roberta Estes suggested that people could put their unwanted codes in the comments on her detailed post about the ftDNA sale. That seems like a good idea to me. You can do that here too, but please indicate in a reply to each coupon comment when you have taken that one. I will list a few of my coupon codes also.
I have written up my recommendations for where to do your DNA testing on my comparison page. Here is a summary of my current thoughts on which company to use.