23andMe is a popular DNA testing company, with over 10 million customers worldwide, analyzing your DNA and giving you information about your health, ancestry, and traits. This is complicated data – there are millions of SNPs that can influence a trait or condition. So, how many SNPs does 23andMe test? What can you do to get more from your data? Let’s find out.
23andMe was one of the first direct-to-consumer DNA companies on the market, founded in 2006 by Anne Wojcicki, Linda Avey, and Paul Cusenza. They are headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, and have 10 million users in their database.
Read this 23andMe review for more information about this company.
So, how does 23andMe genotyping work?
Your genotype is your own personal collection of genes – in other words, it’s what makes you unique. To date, there are more than 335 million SNPs that have been discovered in humans.
The process of identifying your unique genotype is called genotyping, and it’s what companies like 23andMe use when they test your DNA.
Read this article to learn more about how genotyping works.
How many SNPs does 23andMe test?
The current DNA kit from 23andMe tests around 650,000 SNPs.
Most at-home DNA tests cover less than 1 million SNPs, so only a small fraction of your genotype is actually identified.
The reason why so many SNPs aren’t used is because many don’t provide useful information. Some SNPs also can’t be used due to FDA regulations on certain health topics. However, most DNA companies’ numbers still fall short when it comes to providing insights into complex health issues like mood or cardiovascular disease, which can be influenced by millions of SNPs.
Ultimately, how many SNPs a company tests for is dependent on their core product offering. For example, the Illumina GSA V5 chip from 23andMe allows them to provide more accurate ancestry reporting as it is better for identifying different ethnicities from around the world compared to their previous chips which were more focused on Caucasian populations.
23andMe does allow you to browse your raw data & discover your genotype for specific markers. Below you can view their chromosome browser feature.
23andMe raw data
When you take a 23andMe genotyping test, you get access to your raw DNA data, which you can use to discover more about yourself.
In this article, we covered how many SNPs 23andMe tests for, but is there a way to get more from your 23andMe raw data?
Single SNPs seldom offer a lot of insight into your health. However, if you add them together, your odds of finding useful information increase dramatically. This process is called polygenic risk scores.
The PRS’s usefulness increases with the number of SNPs you can include. But instead of offering expensive whole genome sequencing, companies like SelfDecode use a process called imputation.
But, what is genetic imputation?
Genetic imputation consists of taking known information collected from studies and using a computer algorithm to figure out parts that are not known from a person’s genotyping results. This means that users can receive more information from their standard DNA SNP chip test without having to have their whole genome sequenced.
Companies can then use these computed SNPs calculate your risk for certain health conditions and traits.
For more accurate results, you want to find a source that performs genetic imputation to provide the most SNP data possible in order to increase the predictive accuracy of any individual SNP data you may have.
For example, SelfDecode turns the ~750,000 SNPs that their world-class Illumina GSA DNA kit analyzes into over 83 million additional variants with an accuracy rate of 99.7%. SelfDecode is also the only direct-to-consumer company that is doing ancestry-adjusted polygenic risk scoring. Reports from SelfDecode analyze up to 1M+ genetic variants per health topic to provide your genetic predispositions and personalized recommendations based on your genes.
SelfDecode also allows you to search their database of 83M+ genes, SNPs, and conditions to discover your genotype, including detailed information about the gene or SNP. In the image below, you can see an example of the MTHFR page and SNP table.
Users who sign up for SelfDecode get access to:
- 300+ health & trait reports
- Personalized health recommendations
- Their genotype results for 83M+ SNPs
- Personalized genetic blog posts
- Ancestry (available with the Health & Ancestry Insights plan)
- And more!
We’ve discussed how many SNPs 23andMe tests, but that shouldn’t limit your knowledge. By using a process called genetic imputation, companies such as SelfDecode can shed light on millions more data points from your standard 23andMe results.
You can search within SelfDecode’s database to discover your genotype for over 83 million SNPs and how it affects your health.
- 23andMe v5: All about the latest 23andMe genotyping chip
- How Accurate is 23andMe?
- What To Do With 23andMe Raw Data