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  • 23&me questions

    Got the 23&me results back today and we have one match that says grandson-grandparent - 24.3% shared across 31 segments. I was told 23&me will make guesses based off a age gap. Is this correct?

    Like I've heard is common I have many anonymous matches which I heard gets frustrating for people. I did send a message to some . . Anyone know how their message system works. Does the people get a email alert like Ancesrry? I'm not sure if some of these matches ever even log on.

    23&me is interesting. Need to learn how to fully use it. The health report does not sound very accurate though.

  • #2
    Good luck!

    Roberta Estes' latest post on her log isn't enthusiatic about the way 23andMe are presenting results or matches or "user friendliness".

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Sara291 View Post
      Got the 23&me results back today and we have one match that says grandson-grandparent - 24.3% shared across 31 segments. I was told 23&me will make guesses based off a age gap. Is this correct?
      Age may be a factor, but 23andMe also uses the number of segments. Grandparent/grandchild and avuncular relationships both share 25% on the average. However, the segments will be fewer but longer in grandparent/grandchild. That's because there are not as many chances for recombination.

      The scattergram in this blog post shows the distribution. It looks like 31 segments is right on the borderline between the yellow and orange blobs (which do overlap). This happened to my sister: our uncle was labeled as her grandfather because she landed in the orange blob.

      link removed

      If the hyperlink is removed, you can Google 23andMe and the phrase "how many relatives do you have"
      Last edited by Darren; 25 September 2016, 02:00 AM. Reason: Sorry, please no links to 23andme

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      • #4
        23andMe has been notorious for the last few years for its very unfriendly attitude toward genealogists and adoptees. Basically, the company is on a "mission from God" (seems that's how they regard it) to show that crowd-sourcing of DNA results can lead to medical/health research breakthroughs. It's not unimportant that they make money by selling the anonymous results in their database to health researchers.

        Genealogists/adoptees are more of a nuisance to them than anything else. When I get frustrated with 23andMe, I think that they basically regard all their customers as "lab rats," which probably isn't that much of an overstatement.

        The OP's experience of frustration with their DNA Relatives feature is very common. They don't encourage their customers much to opt into participation with DNA Relatives and don't give those who do all the information they need to jump through all their hoops (sending/accepting sharing invitation, etc.) and succeed in connecting with matches. They let it slip out about three years ago that only about half of their customers were opting into DNA Relatives. I don't know what the current percentage is, but it's possible that there's a birth parent or half-sibling in the database and you wouldn't know, if that close relative hadn't opted into DNA Relatives.

        Their new website, introduced last November, does have a nice feature called "open sharing." It allows those participating in DNA Relatives to automatically share results with any of their matches who've also opted for open sharing. So, you don't have to send any matches with open sharing a sharing invitation, if you've opted into open sharing. This allows you to see any shared segments in the chromosome browser, plus it lets you know which other matches with open sharing both of you have (basically, "in common with"), including telling you which of these common matches share an overlapping segment with you and the other matches.

        They do have some good analysis tools, including their Ancestry Composition, the equivalent of FTDNA's myOrigins, but even that has been neutered in their new website. Ancestry Composition used to show you chromosome paintings of ethnic/geographic ancestry for you and anyone you're sharing results with. Now, they just give you the overall percentages, with no chromosome painting.

        I don't encourage people to test at 23andMe any more, unless they're adoptees who can afford to test at all three companies and won't mind the frustrations of how 23andMe treats customers interested in genealogy/ancestry. In other words, 23andMe is last on my list because no company who treats their customers so arrogantly should be rewarded with a recommendation to use them.

        Okay, my rant is over now.

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        • #5
          I wish there was a single DNA company that was good at everything. Unfortunately, in my opinion 23andme is still the best when it comes to the ethnicity calculator for people from Europe and Latin America. When a person with a very large amount of Native American DNA recently posted his results from all three companies the 23andme results were much closer to reality which not only reinforced my opinion but made it even stronger.

          Luckily there is now a $99 ancestry only test at 23andme. At least they are giving us an opportunity of bypassing on the "health" testing and saving money at the same time.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Armando View Post
            I wish there was a single DNA company that was good at everything. Unfortunately, in my opinion 23andme is still the best when it comes to the ethnicity calculator for people from Europe and Latin America. When a person with a very large amount of Native American DNA recently posted his results from all three companies the 23andme results were much closer to reality which not only reinforced my opinion but made it even stronger.

            Luckily there is now a $99 ancestry only test at 23andme. At least they are giving us an opportunity of bypassing on the "health" testing and saving money at the same time.
            I agree on both your points.

            Ancestry Composition does seem to be the best of the ethnicity calculators of the three commercial testing companies. But, as I noted above, they've neutered it by no longer providing chromosome painting for Ancestry Composition. I've successfully helped adoptees at 23andMe get important clues for their research by looking at their Ancestry Composition chromosome painting. That's especially true for males, since whatever the chromosome painting on their x shows is clearly from their maternal side.

            And I just saw yesterday that 23andMe has begun to offer an ancestry-only test for $99. This was after they doubled the price from $99 to $199 a year ago because they were offering health results again, after getting approval from the FDA. (After ignoring warnings from the FDA for months, maybe a year in 2012-2013, the FDA stopped them from providing health results to customers. They found that blowing off the FDA doesn't work as well as blowing off their genealogist/adoptee customers.) I and other genetic genealogists had proposed to 23andMe in their community forum at the time they announced the price increase that they offer an ancestry-only test for $99 for those who are only interested in genealogy/ancestry. There was not a peep in response to that proposal, not even telling us why they couldn't do that.

            I think they found out that doubling their price led to a stagnation in their database as they priced themselves out of the genealogy/ancestry market and genealogists and adoptees could no longer afford to have friends and relatives test with them. So, ultimately they discovered that it doesn't pay to blow off their customers who are genealogists or adoptees.
            Last edited by MMaddi; 23 September 2016, 01:15 PM.

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            • #7
              MMaddi I agree. They haven't cared much about the adoptees for a while now.

              In the seven years it took me to find a birth father as an adoptee, 23andMe was absolutely worthless to my research.

              I know that is not true for every case and in fact other adoptees have found relatives with them, but to use for everyday research of trying to piece a large puzzle together, they are really hard to use. I don't even recommend them.


              Matt.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
                I think they found out that doubling their price led to a stagnation in their database as they priced themselves out of the genealogy/ancestry market and genealogists and adoptees could no longer afford to have friends and relatives test with them. So, ultimately they discovered that it doesn't pay to blow off their customers who are genealogists or adoptees.
                IIRC, In 2012 Family Finder was $199 and 23andme lowered the price from to a prescription service to $299 w/o a subscription in May 2012 which is the same month that AncestryDNA launched it's product. The 23andme price was then reduced to $99 in December 2012. In 2013 FTDNA reduced the price of Family Finder and it seems the cause was the competition. It's a great thing that the competition exists so the companies keep their prices low.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
                  I think they found out that doubling their price led to a stagnation in their database as they priced themselves out of the genealogy/ancestry market and genealogists and adoptees could no longer afford to have friends and relatives test with them. So, ultimately they discovered that it doesn't pay to blow off their customers who are genealogists or adoptees.
                  No doubt about that. And, Ancestry has kicked their behind in growing out their database to 2M+. It is the data they really want, and Ancestry is collecting it for their own big data health initiative at a much quicker pace. Frankly, I think Ancestry (once FDA approved) will end 23andMe's relevance completely. Too bad, too. I really liked 23andMe before they mucked everything up in the name of the FDA and their health reports.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BBA64 View Post
                    No doubt about that. And, Ancestry has kicked their behind in growing out their database to 2M+. It is the data they really want, and Ancestry is collecting it for their own big data health initiative at a much quicker pace. Frankly, I think Ancestry (once FDA approved) will end 23andMe's relevance completely. Too bad, too. I really liked 23andMe before they mucked everything up in the name of the FDA and their health reports.
                    I agree totally with the part of your post that I bolded. Some may find this hard to believe after I've trashed them in my posts in this thread.

                    But I do believe that how they designed their chromosome browser's capabilities, the parameters of their algorithm for declaring matches and Ancestry Composition mean they have the best genetic genealogy features of the three companies. What I object to is their escalating minimization of those features in their business model. Over the last three or four years, their treatment of customers only interested in genealogy/ancestry has gotten steadily worse.

                    I think the company management has always been single-minded in their focus on growing their database for health research. But they have offered some well thought out and designed genealogy features in the past - the latest example of that is "open sharing," which makes connecting with matches much easier. But their arcane and opaque rules for participating in DNA Relatives and sharing results make the experience there for genealogists and adoptees very frustrating, which is exactly the point the OP was making in her post.

                    Maybe the fact that they decided to go back to the $99 price for those customers who only want to have genealogy/ancestry results means they've finally understood that they can't treat their customers like lab rats. I hope so, although I'm not holding my breath waiting to see if that's the case.
                    Last edited by MMaddi; 24 September 2016, 11:45 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
                      Their new website, introduced last November, does have a nice feature called "open sharing." It allows those participating in DNA Relatives to automatically share results with any of their matches who've also opted for open sharing. So, you don't have to send any matches with open sharing a sharing invitation, if you've opted into open sharing. This allows you to see any shared segments in the chromosome browser, plus it lets you know which other matches with open sharing both of you have (basically, "in common with"), including telling you which of these common matches share an overlapping segment with you and the other matches.
                      Note that the new website is still not available to users outside the USA. There's no "open sharing" for us. We can't contact anonymous matches in any way. And it seems like named matches in the US cannot see "share requests" from non-US DNA matches.

                      The site has become a desolate graveyard for us foreigners.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DaveInGreece View Post
                        Note that the new website is still not available to users outside the USA. There's no "open sharing" for us. We can't contact anonymous matches in any way. And it seems like named matches in the US cannot see "share requests" from non-US DNA matches.

                        The site has become a desolate graveyard for us foreigners.
                        I expressed my general opinion of 23andMe earlier in this thread. The negatives far outweigh the positives and make them the last company on my recommendation list for testing by a genealogist or an adoptee.

                        From what I've heard, the problems for 23andMe customers outside the U.S. is even worse, as you've mentioned. I'll just repeat that their attitude toward their customers is that they're just "lab rats." The wants and needs of the customers enter very little into the minds of 23andMe and its management.

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                        • #13
                          I agree with everyone and never go to my account there anymore.

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