Quite a few people have asked how I feel about the new 23andme site—and its doubled price—as a result of my AncestryDNA VS 23andme review. The timing on my test did give me access to some new features after the site fully changed over, so I choose to add this quick overview of the changes to 23andme, and an opinion on whether that price hike is fair.
What’s changed at 23andme?
Honestly, they redesigned the site and added health reports to their DNA test results. Other than that, I actually see less tools. For instance the countries of ancestry and top surnames sections are gone, though the updated matches screen allows filtering by surname and shows counts and there is a “grand parents” filter that seems like integration of the countries of ancestry tool.
There is also slightly more detail in the Neanderthal section now, as it tells you what a few genes you have from Neanderthal do (not all). My results there also changed, which is interesting being I tested before the changeover and already had my results.
Is it worth the price change?
The health reports are what they seem to be marketing as a valid reason for increasing their price from $99 to $199 (plus shipping).
Sadly, they must not realize you can pay $99 at AncestryDNA (or sometimes less via Amazon), download your raw DNA, and get health reports for $5 from Promethease. Worse, the Promethease report is far more detailed albeit more complicated and not FDA approved. What little 23andme told me (guessed my hair color, eye color, told me I should be lactose intolerant and drink lots of coffee—both of which are not the case, I hate coffee and I love dairy, and said I wasn’t a carrier of 62 risk genes) matched what was in my Promethease report, but the Promethease report had thousands of matches. Below are a few screen cuts from my report, as you can see, they flagged genes for all sorts of stuff.
Even the updated Neanderthal info was on Promethease, but more genes were flagged.
So, would I still recommend 23andme at all?
It still depends, that price difference gives AncestryDNA a huge advantage, I mean why pay almost $100 more for the same service? I do still think their genetic heritage offerings are better than AncestryDNA, but personally, I don’t feel that price difference is worth it. The only exclusion is if you are trying to find family members. In that case, the more places your DNA is on file to find matches, the better. You should also consider there are people all over the world looking for lost family—adopted kids, kids who don’t know who one or both parents are—your test could change a life. So, if you have the excess money, I’d test both places.
Remember that at 23andme every additional test you purchase is 10% off and shipping is combined, so you could save by finding others who would like to test and doing a group order. For AncestryDNA, be on the lookout for sales as they do them regularly. Also check Amazon, sometimes it is cheaper to order though them. Finally with either option you can use Ebates for some extra savings. From AncestryDNA, it usually 5-8% back, at Amazon 1-3%.