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What is 23andMe?
23 and Me is a service for genetic testing; consider it your genome service.
Why the Number “23”?
The number 23 refers to how many chromosome pairs human beings have. Your chromosomes carry your DNA, your genetic makeup. You get 23 chromosomes from each parent, they pair up to product your genotype; who you are genetically.
Why Should I Care About My Genetics?
Maybe you do not care, but some people are interested in their genetics out of curiosity, to discover their ancestry, or because they have concerns in relationship to genetic illnesses they may develop, or pass on to future generations.
How Does the 23andMe Test Work, How do I Get Tested?
When you order your kit from 23andMe it comes in the mail. Register your kit (following instructions provided), spit into the tube and send it to the lab. The lab takes about 2 to 3 weeks to analyze the DNA in your saliva. You will then be able to log in and read your genome results.
How Much Saliva is Needed?
Only 2.5ml of saliva is needed for testing. This is about half a teaspoon. It can take 5 to 10 minutes to produce this amount of saliva.
Will I Receive a Diagnosis for a Genetic Medical Condition?
23andMe can give you genetic information but cannot give you a diagnosis. You will learn about your genetic predisposition for an inherited problem, but you need to have a diagnosis made by an actual doctor.
Where Can I Get the 23andMe Test Kit?
23andMe is based in California, but they do ship to many international countries, including (but not limited to):
International orders include prepaid return shipping to the lab in the United States. Shipping instructions and documentation will also be provided to help you to return the sample correctly.
Is it Legal to Send Saliva Through the Mail?
Yes, saliva is not considered hazardous, however some countries may not understand this, so the documentation is provided to explain this further to the shippers who may try to charge you more.
What Else Can I Learn About Myself?
You might be able to connect with other living relatives (distant cousins) who have taken the test by using the “relative finder”, thus growing your family tree. This is an optional free service, so you will not be contacted by strangers if you do not want to.
You can learn about your ancestors, and where they most likely came from. Learn if your child is at risk of 44 possible inherited conditions. Learn about your own health risks. Learn about possible reactions to taking certain drugs. Learn trivial information about yourself, including your ear wax type.
Does 23andMe Have Genetic Testing for Children?
Young children do not produce as much saliva as adults and if they are too young they cannot spit. As such it is very difficult for them to use the same test as used by adults. 23andMe does have test kits for young children but these are not available online, instead you can contact them directly and request a special test kit for younger children.
How to Contact 23andMe?
Email them at:
1390 Shorebird Way,
Mountain View, CA 94043
Is My Information Kept Private?
Yes, your information is private. If you wish to opt into the relative location program you will only be contacted by others who are related to you and have done the same. 23andMe does not otherwise share, or sell, your information. You can give 23andMe permission to use your information for research.