Last month, I submitted a saliva sample for genetic testing with 23andMe.

The saliva collection process was relatively straight forward (documented in my previous article), but had an estimated eight week lead time to produce the reports.

As a result, I was pleasantly surprised when I received an e-mail (after four weeks) notifying me that my reports were ready for review.

The 23andMe dashboard (shown below) provides a good overview of your information, split across the previously described areas: Genetic Health Risk, Wellness, Carrier Status, Traits and Ancestry. In total, this resulted in 84 individual reports (excluding optional research reports).

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When selecting a specific area (e.g. Genetic Health Risk), you are presented with an overview of the corresponding reports, which provides a quick way to review each result. 23andMe also automatically highlights any report that received a “positive” result (which can be filtered using a simply checkbox).

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When selecting a specific report (e.g. Phenylketonuria and Related Disorders), you are presented with a detailed breakdown of the result. Thankfully, each report includes a simple description covering the test itself and your result. The scientific details are also available; however, these are likely only valuable to individuals with a background in health or genetics.

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Overall, I have been impressed with the 23andMe health reports. I obviously cannot guarantee the scientific accuracy; however, the information is clearly presented and (in my opinion) finds the right balance between detail and simplicity.

The ancestry reports follow a similar structure to the health reports, but I did not find the information as valuable. This might be because I have not spent any time researching my family tree, therefore, reports such as the ancestry composition are interesting, but not immediately useful.

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The detailed ancestry reports include Maternal Haplogroups (shown below), Paternal Haplogroups, Neanderthal Ancestry and DNA Family.

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Finally, you can download all of the report for offline review, including an overall summary. You can also share the results directly with friends and family. The sharing feature is especially useful if direct family members have also completed genetic testing with 23andMe, allowing for a holistic review of areas such as “Carrier Status” (useful for family planning).

In conclusion, I believe 23andMe is best suited for individuals who are interested in the science and research of health. If your focus is ancestry, I would actually recommend investigating Ancestry, which I understand has a more comprehensive data set.

As a result, assuming your interest is health, I would not hesitate to recommend 23andMe.