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23andMe’s Ancestry Composition Reveals People’s Ancestral Origins Going Back 500 Years And More

December 13, 2012

Company introduces the most comprehensive and accurate tool for determining genetic ancestry composition available

Mountain View, Calif. — December 13, 2012 — 23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, today announced the availability of Ancestry Composition, a new feature that provides state-of-the-art geographic illustration of an individual’s ancestral origins. Using 22 reference populations, the feature indicates what percent of a person’s ancestry comes from various regions around the world. The analysis includes DNA inherited from all ancestors on both sides of the family. The results reflect where an individual’s ancestors lived going back approximately 500 years. Ancestry Composition offers state-of-the art detail for people with European ancestry, breaking it out into several regions with the ability to identify distinct ancestral origins, such as: British and Irish, Scandinavian, Italian and Ashkenazi Jewish, among others. It also offers very accurate breakdowns for individuals of mixed ancestry, African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans. With 23andMe’s exclusive “Chromosome View,” people can see their personal ancestry reflected segment-by-segment on each of their 23 pairs of chromosomes. “23andMe continues to pioneer genetic genealogy with its new Ancestry Composition,“ said Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., host of the PBS program Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., author of 15 books and the director of Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. “Their groundbreaking features are built with scientific rigor but provide an enjoyable and easy-to-understand way for anyone to explore their ancestry. This feature makes tracing one’s ancestral past through genetic makeup both fun and educational.” 23andMe also enables people to see the specific ancestry inherited from each parent when at least one parent also uses the service. “We’ve taken some recent developments in machine learning and applied those algorithms to genetics in a way that we believe sets new technical standards for the industry,” said Mike Macpherson, 23andMe principal product scientist. “Ancestry Composition is truly innovative. It uses public-genetic databases for reference as well as the data set from 23andMe. As a result, the more people who join 23andMe, the more powerful and more accurate Ancestry Composition will become.” The company recently presented the research that serves as the foundation for the Ancestry Composition feature at the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting in San Francisco in November. A white paper outlining the technical detail and methodology of the feature is available on the company’s website at:

Ancestry Composition is the latest innovation from 23andMe to help individuals learn more about their ancestry in an engaging and interactive way. 23andMe continues to offer the popular Relative Finder feature, a powerful way to find and connect with living relatives from all branches of the family tree. You can learn more about exploring your ancestry with 23andMe at:

About 23andMe

23andMe, Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, is a leading consumer genetics and research company. Founded in 2006, the company’s mission is to help people access, understand, and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe has pioneered direct access to genetic information as the only company with multiple FDA clearances for genetic health reports. The company has created the world’s largest crowdsourced platform for genetic research, with 80% of its customers electing to participate. The 23andMe research platform has generated more than 180 publications on the genetic underpinnings of a wide range of diseases. The platform also powers the 23andMe Therapeutics group, currently pursuing drug discovery programs rooted in human genetics across a spectrum of disease areas, including oncology, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases, in addition to other therapeutic areas. More information is available at