Understanding our
scientific process.

Reliable results, clearly conveyed.

 

The 23andMe Personal Genetic Service has been designed to provide customers with accurate, high-quality data in a format that is easy to understand. Each step in our workflow is carefully monitored and validated through quality control measures to ensure every customer’s data accurately reflects his or her genetic makeup. All samples are processed in labs that meet local regulations.

Our methods

We use genotyping technology to look at specific genetic variants in the genome that can be informative about an individual’s health and ancestry.

Unlike sequencing that analyzes all nucleotides in a gene to identify changes, genotyping detects specific known variants within the genome. 23andMe uses a custom Illumina HumanOmniExpress-24 format chip that analyzes approximately half a million variants. This custom chip has been designed to include variants:

  • In medically relevant genes
  • With known disease associations
  • Associated with traits
  • Used to assign genetic ancestry and ethnicity

Regulatory status

23andMe is the first and only company authorized by the FDA to provide direct-to-consumer (DTC) personal Genetic Health Risk reports* and Carrier Status reports.*

In April 2017, we received authorization to offer new Genetic Health Risk reports on a range of health conditions, including late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. These reports provide information about genetic variants that increase personal risk for certain diseases. The FDA has also indicated it will create a “Class II Exemption for substantially equivalent reports,” which will allow 23andMe to release additional Genetic Health Risk reports that conform to general and special control requirements.

Read more

Analytical validity

Analytical validity refers to the accuracy and precision of the 23andMe genotyping platform — or how well each test predicts the presence or absence of specific genetic variants. Our Genetic Health Risk report* and Carrier Status report* results are analytically validated and meet FDA requirements. Specific data relative to the analytical validity of the variants used in each report can be found in the Scientific Details of each health report.

View 23andMe reports.

Clinical validity

Clinical validity is the degree to which a test accurately identifies or predicts a disease of interest. Our Genetic Health Risk test* and Carrier Status test* meet FDA requirements for clinical validity.

White Paper 23-15: Scientific Standards for 23andMe’s Health and Trait Reports

Read more about report criteria

Variant coverage

Variant coverage represents the proportion of disease-causing alleles in people with a given condition that would be detected by the test. It varies by condition, and within each condition, it varies by ethnicity. For certain conditions in which a single variant accounts for all known cases of the disease, our coverage is >99%. In other cases, there are many variants that can cause the disease, and we include some but not all of these on our assay. The coverage for specific ethnicities and the specific variants tested can be found in the scientific details section of each report.

White Paper 23-11: Estimating Carrier Frequency, Carrier Detection Rate and Post-Test Carrier Risk for Recessive Disorders

Consumer comprehension

To ensure that our customers are able to understand their 23andMe Genetic Health Risk reports* and Carrier Status reports* without relying on a healthcare professional, we have performed rigorous studies and met FDA requirements for consumer comprehension. Overall comprehension rates per test report concept were greater than 90% across all concepts.

A diverse group of people answered questions about the test reports in a controlled, lab-based setting. Comprehension was tested through a two-step process. First, participants’ understanding of genetics was tested prior to viewing the educational module and test reports. Second, participants were shown the educational module and the test reports. Participants then completed the test report comprehension survey.

FAQ

Questions? Contact us at medical@23andme.com.

* The 23andMe PGS test uses qualitative genotyping to detect clinically relevant variants in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva collected using an FDA-cleared collection device (Oragene·DX model OGD-500.001) for the purpose of reporting and interpreting genetic health risks and reporting carrier status. It is not intended to diagnose any disease. The relevance of each report varies based on ethnicity. Each Genetic Health Risk report describes if a person has variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing the disease. These reports are intended to provide genetic information that can be used to inform lifestyle decisions and conversations with healthcare professionals, but are not intended to tell you anything about your current state of health, or to be used to make medical decisions, including whether or not you should take a medication or how much of a medication you should take. Any diagnostic or treatment decisions should be based on testing or other information deemed appropriate by a healthcare professional. Our Carrier Status reports can be used to determine carrier status, but cannot determine if you have two copies of any genetic variant. These carrier reports are not intended to tell you anything about your risk for developing a disease in the future or anything about the health of your fetus, or your newborn child’s risk of developing a particular disease later in life. For Gaucher Disease Type 1, we provide a single report that includes information on both carrier status and genetic health risk.