Blog post

Monday, November 29, 2010

Should I jump in the gene-pool? Input needed!

OK, I don't have much time to make up my mind because 23andMe's $99 (plus $60 plus hefty postage) deal ends today!

I've been too-ing and fro-ing in my mind about whether I should do it. The main issue for me is the conditions around the "personal genome service". Under the special offer, you have to pay a subscription of $5/month for a year. This subscription gets you access to any updates, and emails about new matches for a year.

Did you sign up? Did you read the fine print?

Here's the thing... if you cancel the subscription you not only miss out on emails regarding new matches, you also cannot seek out new matches yourself, and other people signing up later won't see you. I emailed 23andMe to check my interpretation and got this reply:
"If you cancel your subscription after the one year commitment, you will not show up in new relatives Relative Finder list nor will you see them in yours." 
All credit to them for a quick and unambiguous reply, but the fact remains, no matter how big 23andMe say the database is, you don't necessarily have access to that many other people nor they to you.

I would be much more comfortable with a model similar to most genealogy sites where you could see other matches but only initiate contact if you had a current subscription.

However - and this is where I'm underinformed and would appreciate input from someone knowledgeable - it seems you can download your raw data and presumably use it elsewhere. From what I can see that's pretty straightforward so far as the male line is concerned and if I thought I could convince my Dad to give me a vial of spit for Christmas then I think I could live with that. But, if it's me that does the test is there anywhere that I could use mitochondrial and more particularly the "relative finder" results?

Comments appreciated!


  1. Shelly there is a 5 discussion of this on
    The view the above you'll have to register. This DNA forum is probably the best on the net i reckon.

    I'm probably not the best person to give you suggestions etc regarding queries from your blog, so if you get no further help, try the forum above.

  2. For me the decision was based on the extra information you get about health-related matters. I figure that signing up for a year and then stopping it will still help me find more relatives than not doing anything at all, which is what I have been doing so far. This is my first step, and I will probably do what one of the other 'buddies' has done and use another company later, probably FTDNA. And the discount is huge, and probably related to bad publicity they've had in the past, as I was informed by one of the others.

    Give it a go! What have you got to lose?

  3. Update: Carole talked me into it (it's all her fault!!!)
    New blog post coming...