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What can 23andMe do for me if I am adopted?

23andMe is preparing to transition customers to an updated version of the 23andMe experience. You will receive an email when your account has been transitioned.

New 23andMe Experience | Old 23andMe Experience

New 23andMe Experience

23andMe® can give adoptees a unique glimpse into their genetic legacy. In your DNA, we can find genetic traces of where your ancestors lived throughout history. The 23andMe Services report on your mitochondrial DNA as well as your autosomes and sex chromosomes.

There are a few reports and tools that are especially helpful for adoptees:

 

Finding Biological Relatives

23andMe is not a service designed to help people find their biological parents, but one feature can help you find and connect with genetic relatives. 

DNA Relatives Tool

DNA Relatives is a tool that compares your DNA to other 23andMe users that are participating in DNA Relatives and predicts a relationship based on the amount of DNA you share. These shared segments indicate that two people are related through a common ancestor. The number of relatives you will be matched to can vary. For example, people with European or Ashkenazi ancestry often have many matches while people with Asian and Middle Eastern ancestry will likely have fewer matches.

You can be confident that the matches listed in DNA Relatives are your relatives, even though they may be quite distantly related to you. The vast majority of relatives found by DNA Relatives share a common ancestor within the last five to ten generations. A few may be more distantly related. There is, however, the possibility of finding a much closer relative.

Your DNA Family Report

Your DNA Family report tells you about the diverse group of 23andMe customers who have DNA in common with you and how many these DNA Relatives you have around the world. This report is available to you whether or not you choose to participate in the DNA Relatives tool, but to connect with your genetic relatives you will need to opt in to the DNA Relatives tool.

 

Ancestry

Regardless of whether or not you are interested in finding biological relatives, we have a number of tools that can provide you with information about your genetic ancestry.

Our Ancestry Composition report can provide you with insight into your recent ancestry. The feature tells you what percent of your DNA comes from each of 31 populations worldwide. This feature analyzes the autosomal DNA that you inherit in equal parts from each of your parents, therefore, Ancestry Composition can tell an adopted person about their collective recent ancestry from both sides of their family.

The Haplogroup reports offers a different vantage point. The Haplogroup reports can shed light on the origins of some of our ancestors and on their migrations over tens of thousands of years. Your maternal haplogroup assignment tells you about your maternal-line ancestors, from your mother through her mother and beyond. If you are male, your paternal haplogroup tells you about your paternal-line ancestors, from your father to his father and beyond. Because females do not have Y chromosomes, they do not have paternal haplogroups. Females can still learn about their recent paternal ancestry in our Ancestry Composition report. Learn more.

 

Health and Physical Traits

23andMe can give you a glimpse at your biological parents' DNA, simply by showing you your own. Your parents each passed half of their own DNA onto you, so your genetic composition necessarily reflects theirs.

You can view a full list of the reports here.

While 23andMe does reveal some genetic information about genetic variations that have been associated with diseases and conditions, it is not a substitute for a family medical history.

 

Old 23andMe Experience

23andMe can give adoptees a unique glimpse into their genetic legacy. The 23andMe® Personal Genome Service reports on your mitochondrial DNA as well as your autosomes and sex chromosomes.

There are a few features that are especially helpful for adoptees:

 

Finding Biological Relatives

23andMe is not a service designed to help people find their biological parents, but several of our features can help you find people you are related to.

DNA Relatives is a feature that compares your DNA to other members that have been genotyped by 23andMe and predicts a relationship based on the amount of DNA you share. These shared segments indicate that two people are related through a common ancestor. The number of relatives you will be matched to can vary. For example, people with European or Ashkenazi ancestry often have many matches while people with Asian and Middle Eastern ancestry will likely have fewer matches.

You can be confident that the matches listed in DNA Relatives are your relatives, even though they may be quite distantly related to you. The vast majority of relatives found by DNA Relatives share a common ancestor within the last five to ten generations. A few may be more distantly related. There is, however, the possibility of finding a much closer relative - including a parent or sibling.

A second feature that can provide you with information about relatives is our Family Traits tool. If you believe another person might be related to you, and they agree to submit a sample to 23andMe, you can see whether you share segments of DNA. You will need to share genomes with each other to use Family Traits. If you share segments of DNA, you will also be matched in DNA Relatives.

 

Ancestry

Regardless of whether or not you are interested in finding biological relatives, we have a number of tools that can provide you with information about your genetic ancestry. Our Ancestry Composition feature can provide you with insight into your recent ancestry. The feature tells you what percent of your DNA comes from each of 31 populations worldwide. This feature analyses the autosomal DNA that you inherit in equal parts from each of your parents, therefore, Ancestry Composition can tell an adopted person about their collective recent ancestry from both sides of their family.

The Maternal Line feature offers a different vantage point, by tracing your biological mother's all-female lineage. This lineage can be traced all the way back to the origin of the human species about 200,000 years ago. As a result, the Maternal Line feature gives you a very good idea of where your mother's family came from.

The Paternal Line feature provides similar information, except that it provides information about a person's all-male ancestral line. Because it analyses DNA on the Y chromosome it is only available for men.

 

Health and Physical Traits

23andMe can give you a glimpse at your biological parents' DNA, simply by showing you your own. Your parents each passed half of their own DNA onto you, so your genetic composition necessarily reflects theirs.

You can view a full list of the reports here.

While 23andMe does reveal some genetic information about genetic variations that have been associated with diseases and conditions, it is not a substitute for a family medical history.

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