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23andMe adds 120 geographic regions to make genetic ancestry results more precise

| | March 9, 2018
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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

If you’ve ever taken an ancestry DNA test, you probably already know that the results aren’t exactly precise. Sometimes you wind up with completely different results than you expected.

On [February 28], though, 23andMe announced an update to its service that should give customers more specific insight into where they are from. Rather than telling a customer that they are, say, “Scandinavian,” that customer might find that they are specifically part Norwegian. All told, the company has added 120 new geographic regions to the results of its test.

When I took 23andMe’s test last year, as part of a story I did on the accuracy of ancestry tests, the test was surprising because it told me I was only 3 percent Scandinavian and 5.5 percent Middle Eastern, even though I expected numbers much higher in those areas based on my family history.

With the update, the picture 23andMe painted of my ancestry was closer to the one painted by family genealogy. It was also more specific. It was able to tell me not just that I was Scandinavian and Middle Eastern, but that I’m Norwegian and Syrian.

The update to 23andMe’s test is a good example of how rapidly genetic technology is improving, and how with technological advances and larger data sets, consumer DNA testing stands to get a lot more precise.

Read full, original post: 23andMe’s Ancestry DNA Test Just Got a Lot More Precise

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