This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more here.

DNA Relatives: The Basics

In a previous version of the DNA Relatives tool, customers could choose to participate anonymously - meaning that their name would be displayed as "Anonymous" to their relatives. Since October 2015, new customers have been required to provide their name, initials, or a combination of the two and cannot participate anonymously. Customers who opted in to DNA Relatives and chose to be anonymous on the old experience have been required to update their display name in order to view their DNA Relatives.

As of June 15th, 2018, customers who have not updated their display preferences will be automatically opted out, and will no longer be visible in the tool to others. At any point these customers may opt in to participate simply by visiting the DNA Relatives feature and selecting their preferences.

The DNA Relatives tool is one of the most interactive features of 23andMe, allowing you to find and connect with genetic relatives and learn more about your family.

  • The DNA Relatives tool can identify relatives on any branch of your family tree. It does this by taking advantage of the autosomal chromosomes - the 22 chromosomes that are passed down from your ancestors on both sides of your family - and your X chromosome(s).
  • Relatives are identified by comparing your DNA with the DNA of other 23andMe members who are participating in the DNA Relatives feature. When two people are found to have an identical DNA segment, they very likely share a recent common ancestor. DNA Relatives uses the length and number of these identical segments to predict the relationship between genetic relatives. Generally long stretches of identical DNA indicate a recent common ancestor and therefore a close relationship. 
  • The number of relatives listed is different for each person and grows over time as more people join 23andMe. People with European or Ashkenazi ancestry typically have many matches; people with Asian or Middle Eastern ancestry tend to have fewer matches. 

 

Choosing to Participate

Participating in the DNA Relatives feature is optional. When your 23andMe results become available, you are given the choice to participate. You'll see the following notice when you visit the feature:

DNA_Relatives_opt-in.png

Each user participating in DNA Relatives has the option to download a file containing their list of DNA Relatives, including display names, profile sexes, and predicted relationships, as well as any additional information the match has chosen to share through the "enhance your profile" step.

You have the ability to change your participation status at anytime through DNA Relatives or your account settings. If you are expecting to see a known relative in your list and that relative does not appear, check with them to make sure they have opted in to participate in DNA Relatives.

 

Follow
Was this article helpful?
2 out of 2 found this helpful

Didn't find what you were looking for?

Submit a request

Ask a question through Facebook or Twitter

Or call 1-800-239-5230
Monday through Friday, 6:00am to 8:00pm PST/PDT

Let us know what you think of our Help Center by taking a quick survey.