Archive | 2015

Initial report on the new 23andme for the advanced user

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.


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Christmas DNA Sales are here!


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 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.

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Exploring the new DNA feature: total cMs has a new feature which shows you the total number of centimorgans (cMs) and segments for your DNA matches. You have to go and look at at specific match to find it. Once there, you click on the little “i” in a circle next to the confidence level description and a dark box will appear with the information.

Here is what that looks like for my brother and our first cousin from her account.


Ancestry has its own algorithm for removing matching DNA that it thinks is not recent. This means that these numbers will not match what you see at GEDmatch. Perhaps some of the excluded data will appear as “Ancient” over at but not all these kits are uploaded there yet so that report will have to wait.

Here are a few examples of the numbers for my brother’s family matches at Ancestry, as compared to those same matches at GEDmatch or ftDNA:

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Time to send your last 23andme invitations

It is time to cancel and re-invite all your closest anonymous matches at 23andme, letting them know that this is their last chance. After November 11 they will disappear from your relative lists as will all your pending introductions. Anonymous users will no longer be allowed to participate in DNA relatives. They can change their status in settings. Warning, if you are using a nickname rather than a real sounding name or initials, your profile will automatically be changed to anonymous (this does not include the nickname you had to specify for posting to forums). This proviso is still a little unclear to me, presumably when you are switched to the new 23andme, you can make changes to your profile then.


Another big change is that Countries of Ancestry is going away ,so download that spreadsheet now.

The good news is that the cap of 1000 matches is being raised to 2000. Also another good thing is that you can set yourself to “Open Sharing” which lets other open sharers compare matching DNA segments to you without the cumbersome introduction system

23andme has provided a page that maps old features to new (click here or on the image above):
A number of bloggers have written detailed posts on the changes coming to 23andme. Here are several good ones. You can also click here for the thread in the community section at 23andme.

Blogger Reports:

Shannon Christmas:

Judy Russell:

Roberta Estes:

Now to get back to cancelling and sending my new last chance messages!

Big changes coming at 23andme, Health is back

23andMe Utube

Excerpt from the 23andme Reports Overview at Youtube

The price has gone up but so has the amount of information you will receive. Those of you who bought kits after the FDA shut down the health information at 23andme will now get the new improved reports. All of us testers will receive an email once our accounts have transitioned over.

I received 12 emails today announcing this! As soon as any of the accounts I manage transition over to the new software, I will write a report here on my blog. The accounts that already had health reports were promised in the email that they will “continue to have access to [their] current health reports. The new experience will include redesigned versions of many of the same health and ancestry reports that you currently have.”

Blogger Andrea Badger published the following report on the DNA-NEWBIE mailing list:

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