Is 23andme Accurate?
Updated on March 18, 2024
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Is 23andme Accurate?
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Yes, 23andme is considered one of the most accurate DNA tests on the market.

In fact, their reports demonstrate >99% accuracy.1 This means that both the 23andme ancestry and health + ancestry tests have been proven to be highly accurate.

23andme will be able to tell you more about your ancestry, family history, and risks for genetic conditions via DNA testing.

Of course, the accuracy of 23andme DNA testing also rests heavily on your compliance with instructions and whether you took them properly.

If you want to learn more, read our dedicated 23andme review here.

Is 23andme Accurate? 4

Product Review Summary

Pros

  • Highly accurate for ancestry and health reports
  • Multiple options where you can choose between ancestry, health + ancestry, or raw data only
  • Has DNA Relative Finder, where you can connect with potential relatives
  • Privacy options that allows you to be anonymous or use a pseudonym
  • Allows you to download your raw DNA data to use on other genetic services

Cons

  • More expensive than other DNA services
  • Has a smaller database
  • Some results may be difficult to interpret and will need help from a genetic counselor

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What Tests Do They Offer?

23andMe has various DNA testing services on ancestry, genetic predispositions, wellness, and traits. These DNA tests include:

1. Ancestry

The Ancestry Service provides ancestry reports, trait reports, a way to find potential relatives, and an option to build a family tree. It costs $119.

2. Health + Ancestry

This DNA test offers more than 150 personalized genetic insights covering health predispositions, carrier status, wellness, and trait reports, on top of the features already available in the Ancestry Service. It costs $229.

3. 23andMe+ Membership

This membership gives you access to premium reports and features, including pharmacogenetics reports, health tracks, health action plan, and eligibility for in-person blood testing initiated by a clinician.

The membership also includes annual genetics-based clinical care with unlimited direct messaging and a dedicated virtual consultation.

It costs $160 for the base Ancestry + Health kit and an additional $69 for one-year prepaid membership.

4. 23andMe Total Health Membership

This comprehensive health membership combines next-generation exome sequencing, biannual blood testing, and direct access to clinical services.

You can get personalized recommendations focused on ongoing prevention and early detection.

It includes all features of the 23andMe+ Membership, plus advanced genetic testing that screens for 55+ clinically actionable and under-diagnosed conditions, analysis of 55+ blood biomarkers, and genetics-based clinical care.

It costs $99 per month.

What Is 23andMe?

23andme is a DNA testing company that provides easy-to-use at-home DNA tests. They pride themselves in highly accurate, high-value health reports and ancestry reports “backed by really rigorous scientific standards.3

Their DNA testing kits are very straightforward and come with clear instructions so you can easily get your genetic information. 23andme aims to make science fun, accessible, and easy to understand, making their genetic tests and reports intuitive and enjoyable.

With the DNA Relative Finder, you’ll also be able to find any long-lost relatives. You can find others whose genetic information overlaps with yours on 23andme as long as they’ve also taken the genetic tests and given the site consent to find matches.

Don’t worry—you can always choose to use a pseudonym or protect your privacy by hiding your identity if you don’t want to find matches.

You can also download your raw DNA data for any other geneticist, genetic counselor, or doctor to interpret.

The company is known to have strict privacy policy. Make sure to read their privacy policy before getting a test.

What is 23andMe Used For?

23andme—and DNA testing in general—is more than just discovering information about your family history.

While you can uncover more about your bloodline via genetic information, you can also:4

  • Determine any genetic health risks or conditions you’re potentially at risk of contracting
  • Figure out your carrier status
  • To learn more about your potential offspring’s chances of inheriting any conditions
  • If you have cancer, knowing more about your genetic history is a great starting point for mapping out treatment options

Your genetic counselor or doctor will help you interpret your results and let you know of any increased risk.

How Do the DNA Tests Work?

First, you need to purchase your test. You can do so on their website or through Amazon. After that, follow the instructions listed:

  1. Register your kit on the 23andme website
  2. Provide your saliva sample as instructed
  3. Send in your DNA samples with the prepaid shipping kit
  4. Wait for your test results (should take between two to three weeks)

After that, your raw data, ancestry, and health reports should be available.

What’s cool about 23andme is that they also provide traits reports, a fun way to see the kinds of traits you inherited and can pass down.

Is 23andme Accurate? 5

What You Get With Your Report?

Here’s what you can expect when you get a 23andMe Health + Ancestry test.

Ancestry Insights

Your result can show a breakdown of your DNA across 23andMe’s 2750+ geographic regions, sometimes down to the county level.

It can also give a peek at your maternal and paternal haplogroups, which trace parts of your ancestry to specific groups from thousands of years ago. It can reveal your Neanderthal ancestry.

The DNA Relative Finder lets you find and connect with relatives in the 23andMe database who share your DNA. Create your family tree using the Automatic Family Tree Builder.

Health Insights

You get information about your genetic health predisposition. This includes diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and late-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

The Carrier Status Report will show you over 45 reports on whether you carry genetic variants for conditions like Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia, and Tay-Sachs Disease.

Moreover, it can give details into traits that affect your well-being, such as your genetic weight, lactose intolerance, and sleep patterns.

The Traits Report has more than 30 reports on traits influenced by your DNA, including hair color, taste preferences, and whether you are likely to fear heights or prefer sweet or salty food.

Is 23andMe More Accurate Than Other Tests?

It depends. Compared to other tests, yes. Otherwise, it’s difficult to qualify with absolute certainty which one is the most accurate.

Genetic testing companies want to claim that they’ve got the most accurate testing methods and results possible. The ways they process genetic tests and test for them may not always overlap, and what each DNA testing company offers may not be the same either.

For example, 23andme tests in more regions compared to others. That, and the depth of these results, can differ.

23andMe vs. Competitors

Features23andMeAncestryDNALiving DNAMyHeritage
Customer Base12 million18 millionSmaller but not specified3 million
DNA Test LinesAncestry, Traits, HealthAncestryAncestryAncestry, some health
Region of Comparison1500+500+Specializes in the British Isles, covers other regions42 global populations
AccuracyDetailed and accurateLarge database enhances accuracyDetailedFamily matches
CostStarts at $119Starts at $99Starts at $95Starts at $39

23andMe vs. Ancestry DNA

Ancestry DNA has a much bigger customer base than 23andme since it’s been around much longer. This may give you a more accurate estimate of any long-lost relatives or anyone who has matching DNA.

However, 23andme is still the better option given that they test for your DNA using maternal and paternal lines, which may give you a more complete picture.

23andMe vs. Living DNA

Living DNA is more affordable compared to 23andme, however, it only compares your raw data with 150 regions. This may make it less accurate for anyone outside of Africa, Europe, Ireland, and the British Isles.

23andMe vs. My Heritage

My Heritage has a much smaller database compared to 23andme, making it more difficult to get more accurate DNA matches.

Not only that, but test takers of European and/or Jewish descent are more likely to get more accurate results. So, you may not get a complete picture if you don’t have either ancestry.

Where Can I Buy the Product?

You can buy 23andMe test kit on their website.

Is 23andMe FDA-approved?

Yes, 23andme has FDA approval.

It’s the only genetics testing company to offer FDA-cleared health tests.

Is 23andMe Worth It?

Yes. If you want to determine if you have any genetic health risks or just want to learn more about your ancestry, 23andme is definitely worth it.

Looking into your family history for any elevated risk for genetic conditions or just filling out your family tree can be worthwhile, fulfilling, and even provide you with a sense of relief.

Why Take a DNA Test?

DNA tests are a great way to determine genetic health risks, carrier status reports, and even fill out your family tree if you want to.

Genetic testing kits don’t only reveal DNA matches for long-lost relatives but also show what you’re at higher risk for—if anything.

If you’re concerned about your family history of certain genetic disorders, you can figure that out early so you can either map out treatment options right away or even work towards a healthier lifestyle to avoid those conditions.

Is 23andme Accurate? 6

Why Trust Us

KnowYourDNA is committed to making healthcare more accessible to the public, which is why we feature products that meet industry standards.

We only choose at-home DNA test kits with reliable testing methods and science-backed reports to improve your experience.

Our in-house medical experts help ensure the accuracy of the information we give our readers by reviewing it before publication.

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Updated on March 18, 2024
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4 sources cited
Updated on March 18, 2024
  1. How Accurate is 23andme?” 23andMe.
  2. How Accurate are Online DNA Tests?” Scientific American.
  3. About Us.” 23andMe.
  4. Genetic Testing.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.