Family-tree DNA specialist 23andMe has launched what it calls “the first-ever” DNA based Family Tree feature. 

The 23andMe Family Tree will auto-populate based on the user's connections and DNA Relatives, to save people from having to spend hours manually tracking down and entering the details.

According to a recent survey, 52 percent of respondents cited difficulty to create their family tree, and not knowing where to start, as the main barriers to creating a tree.

Customers will continue to have the ability to manually complete their Family Tree with their own information to help build out their network even further. In the near future, 23andMe will also offer customers the capability to edit and update their trees. 

The Family Tree will be available only to customers who have formed one-to-one sharing connections with close family members or are opted into DNA Relatives. The tree is then predicted using only living relatives who have granted permission to be viewed in 23andMe.

The 23andMe Ancestry costs from £79 for its Ancestry + Traits service, and £149 with an extra 60 health-related features.

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23andMe regions DNA

New 23andMe DNA regions

23andMe has also announced that it is updating its total region count to include several hundred new populations in South Asian, Western Asian & North African regions, which is possible in part due to the success of 23andMe’s research diversification effort, the Global Genetics Project.

The Global Genetics Project aims to expand and improve 23andMe’s Reference Data Panel and boost studies in populations that are underrepresented in genomics research. By genotyping samples from such populations, it supports researchers who are working with understudied populations, making genomic studies more inclusive, as well help diversify 23andMe’s own genetic database – thus enabling its researchers to make more genetic discoveries.

23andMe’s updated Ancestry Composition report breaks down Central & South Asia into seven populations:

  1. Central Asian (Afghan, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Pashtun, Pakistani from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen)
  2. Bangladeshi & Northeast Indian (Assamese, Bangladeshi)
  3. Central & Southern Indian 
  4. Gujarati Patel
  5. Kannadiga, Tamil, Telugu & Sri Lankan
  6. Malayali
  7. North Indian & South Pakistani (Bihari, Burusho, Chhattisgarhi, Goan, Gujarati, Haryanvi, Kashmiri, Madhya Pradeshi, Maharashtrian, Odia, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Sindhi, Uttarakhandi, Uttar Pradeshi).

This more granular breakdown will give users a more accurate idea of their ancestral background. 

The update will bring its total to more than 1,500 tested regions worldwide, which the company claims makes it the “most comprehensive ancestry test on the market”.  

As part of this major update, all customers with the Ancestry kit will now receive more than 30 Trait reports at no additional cost. These reports explore the genetics behind people’s appearance and senses, such as their genetic likelihood of liking coriander, or whether they prefer sweet or salty foods. 

These updates will be rolling out in the coming weeks.