What can you do with your 23andMe or AncestryDNA raw data? (2021 update)

You’ve spit in the little tube, mailed it off to 23andMe or AncestryDNA, and finally, your results are available. Yay! What can you learn from your genetic data?

Save it First : Here’s how to download your data from 23andMe. It is your data, and you should store it safely.

Start right here for a free analysis of your 23andMe raw data:

There is a ton of free information on Genetic Lifehacks — all of it based on quality research studies.

My goal is to curate the best evidence and not make speculative claims. Simply put – explanations of the research and then details on which SNPs to check.

Use your genetic data to find out about:

Genetic Lifehacks is member supported, which means no advertisements, no selling you stuff, and no financial biases.

Not finding what you need here on Genetic Lifehacks? Read on for more places offering genetic reports related to health and wellness….

Where else can I upload my 23andMe raw data for health analysis?

Consider Privacy before uploading your genetic raw data file to any company:

  1. Read the privacy policy – especially the section on genetic data – before you upload your data anywhere. Don’t just trust their advertising; read the privacy policy.
  2. Figure out if your genetic data is considered a company asset.
    It isn’t enough that a company says
    “We don’t sell your genetic data“. Some companies’ long-term plans include keeping your genetic data (and other health data) with a goal to be bought out by a tech giant. Thus, even if a company claims that it isn’t selling your data right now, you need to know if your genetic data (user data, labs, health surveys, what you’ve searched, etc) will be sold as an asset when the company changes hands.

Big overview reports on your genetic data:

These companies scan through your genetic raw data file and shows you links to various research studies on the gene. This can be a good way to find out if you have anything rare or unique in your DNA.

Review of Codegen  (www.codegen.eu):
Overview: This website also matches your 23andMe raw data file to information on Snpedia.  They have comments from other users which may be helpful if you like anecdotes.
Cost: Free
Privacy policy: “1. We will never share or sell your data  2. The service is designed to be anonymous (does not request your name). The most anonymous way to use this service is to upload your raw file”
Note: they are partnered with a company to sell you vitamins.

Review of Impute.me:
Overview: This website allows you to upload your genome and then run several ‘modules’ on it. Examples include modules on drug response and rare diseases. While not as user-friendly as other websites, Impute.me has in-depth information available on very specific topics.
Price: Free, (but a $5 donation is suggested)
Privacy policy: “All personally traceable genetic information, i.e. your input-data and the imputed genome data is deleted two weeks after imputation. All non-traceable information, i.e. derived calculations and disease risk-scores are deleted two years after imputation. The only right We reserve, is the future possibility to contact participants through provided email. This includes the possibility to ask users if they are interested in further academic research.”

Review of Promethease (www.promethease.com):
Overview: This website matches your 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or other genetic data to the information on the Snpedia.com website and to the ClinVar database.
Price: $12 – $16
Privacy policy:    Promethease was bought out by MyHeritage.com and user data is transferred to MyHeritage…   MyHeritage privacy policy states: “By submitting DNA samples to us and/or DNA Results to the Website, you grant us a royalty-free, world-wide license to use your DNA samples, the DNA Results and the resulting DNA Reports,…”   and “The voluntary Surveys on MyHeritage (the “Surveys”) collect, preserve and analyze self-reported information related to physical and other personal traits, demography, household, lifestyle, habits, preferences, hobbies and interests, opinions, family, occupation, health, psychological and cognitive traits and other similar information (collectively, the “Survey Research Information”).”   Also, “If you voluntarily agreed to the DNA Informed Consent Agreement (the “Informed Consent”) we may use the Survey Research Information, the Health Family Tree Information, DNA Results, Health Questionnaire Information, the DNA Reports and other DNA information for the purposes of research as specified in the Informed Consent.”

Be sure to read through the MyHeritage privacy policy completely and make sure you are ok with it before using Promethease.


Free resources for digging into your genetic raw data file on your own:

If you are interested in learning about specific health topics from your genetic raw data file, there are many free tools that you can use to get started.

Review of SNPedia (www.snpedia.com):
Overview: This is a user-edited resource (like Wikipedia) with links to research papers on specific genetic variants. If you have a specific topic in mind, SNPedia.com is a good starting point.
Price: Free
Privacy policy: SNPedia was sold to MyHeritage and the content is now owned by MyHeritage.

Pubmed.gov (www.pubmed.gov):
Overview: This is the National Institute of Health’s searchable database for medical research studies. The terminology in research papers can be daunting at first, but you have the whole internet at your fingertips. Just look up the words that you don’t know. Some of the articles only show the abstract, but many have links to the full study.
Price: Free

LitVar (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/CBBresearch/Lu/Demo/LitVar/)
This is a search engine for looking up research studies relevant to specific SNPs or genes. It is really handy because it searches by both rs id and by other ways that researchers reference a gene.

PharmGKB (https://www.pharmgkb.org/)
Overview: This is a database for clinicians and researchers to use containing information on how pharmaceutical drugs interact with genetic variants.
Price: Free

dbSNP (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/snp/)
Overview: Database of SNP information for researchers. If you have the rs id of a SNP you are interested in learning more about, plug it in here. This will give you information on the frequency in the population as well as links to all published research on that SNP.
Price: Free

Clue.io (https://clue.io/)
Overview: From the Broad institute, this tool allows you to input a gene name and find out which pharmaceuticals and other genes interact with that gene.
Price: Free

BioMed Explorer
Overview: New tool from Google using their search technology to explore medical and biology research papers. Essentially, a better way to search PubMed.
Price: Free

Review of paid  DNA reports on specific health topics:

Review of Found My Fitness :
Overview: Dr. Rhonda Patrick offers several different reports on genetics. Her podcasts are also excellent and very informative! In my opinion, the majority of what she offers is based on high quality research.
Price:  $25 or $15/month for membership
Privacy policy: There is not a privacy policy! (uughh!), but the FAQ says ” If you register for an account, you can delete your report immediately after running it. If you skip registration, your report will be deleted after 30 days. We do not save data that are not used in the creation of reports.”

Review of StrateGene:
Overview: This is a color-coded report of your methylation cycle polymorphisms that is fairly comprehensive for that specific purpose. It uses 23andMe data. Strategene is part of Seeking Health, from Dr. Ben Lynch. StrateGene recommends hiring a physician to interpret the report since the report doesn’t really explain what each SNP means. There is also a Facebook group for people who have paid for a report.  Update: StrateGene now offers their own DNA tests as well as the ability to use other genetic data.
Price: $45.
Privacy policy:  While the rest of the Seeking Health website privacy policy is the usual stuff about how many ways they are tracking your usage, etc. their privacy policy for genetic data is fairly straight forward. “During processing, the SNP data needed for the StrateGene analysis is extracted, and the 23andme file is deleted completely. The extracted SNP data is not stored with any personally identifiable information, but may be retained for statistical analysis.”

Review of LiveWello:
Overview: When you upload your 23andMe data, you can see the major and minor alleles for a bunch of genetic variants. Everyone (all users) can create different ‘reports’ to share with others. Livewello also has links to snpedia.com and people’s questions or comments about that gene. There are links to practitioners who you can hire.
Price: $19.99
Privacy policy: Their privacy policy states “We will not sell, rent, or share your information (identified or de-identified) without your explicit consent, except we believes it is required to do so by law.  You can completely delete your information at any time.”

Review of My Gene Food:
Overview: This website takes your genetic data from 23andMe or Ancestry.com and creates a custom diet plan for you based. They also have a section of recipes. While I may have personal reservations on this type of service due to limitations of research on diet/gene interaction, the blog articles and information on the MyGeneFood website seem to be solidly researched and very informative.
Price: $95
Privacy policy: Their policy doesn’t go into specifics on how they use your raw genetic data file. One ‘slippery slope’ with genetic information is that companies can take your name off the file and ‘de-identify it’.  My Gene Food’s privacy policy does state “We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. ”

Review of Orig3n.com:
Overview: This company offers both genetic testing and reports on several different topics. They also offer an app, ways to share your data with other people and on social media, and community interaction.
Price: $149 (test included)
Privacy policy:  In general, Orig3n states that they ask before sharing your genetic data with third parties.  Be aware: “Your agreement to this Privacy Policy includes your consent to the transfer of your User Information, Sample and DNA to any entity that may acquire ORIG3N or its assets, either directly or indirectly, and to any affiliate of ORIG3N.” and “In order to provide the Services, we extract DNA from your Sample. We retain your DNA should you desire to purchase additional Services at any time. We reserve the right to retain or destroy your DNA in our discretion.”

Review of Vitagene.com
Overview: Vitagene offers Health reports and DNA tests. The health reports tell you things like whether you’re likely to be lactose intolerant or should eat more greens for folate. They also include a supplement report and a recommendation on exercising.
Price: $99
Privacy Policy: Please read. Their privacy policy states that you are opting in to research studies and sharing your genetic information as a part of the terms that you accept when you sign up. It is possible to opt out in the settings.
Also important here is that they state that they collect just about all the information on you that they possibly could, and that they share the informationWith third parties such as pharmacies, supermarket chains, nutrition and supplement manufacturers, and other providers and retailers to promote and offer their products and services to you;

Additionally they share all of your information: “With third parties for their own services and marketing purposes, unless you opt out of this type of sharing by submitting this form found on our “Do Not Sell My Personal Information””

Review of Genetic Genie – (not recommended):
Overview: This popular website gives you a report on your methylation cycle related genes. A lot of the information is based on out-dated work from various clinicians’ websites and not based on research studies. Much of what is written is speculative and not backed by any research.
Price: $10 donation
Privacy policy: from 2019: “We de-identify data to our best ability (files can have identifying metadata) and store your uploaded genetic information for up to 24 hours. In most cases, genetic data is deleted immediately after processing.”

Review of The DNA Company
Overview: Promoted by Dave Asprey, The DNA Company offers reports on various health topics such as cardiovascular health, sleep, and nutrition for $399 to $4,999.
Price: $399
Privacy Policy: Please read! The company privacy policy states that they will share your personal information including age, address, height, waist measurement, health history, and Google analytics search history with a subsidiary called Youtrients. They will retain your personal information for as long as is reasonably necessary and for five years afterwards. Additionally, if the DNA company or their assets are bought by another corporation, you personal information including genetic and health data will be sold as a business asset.

Review of Endocanna Health (endocanna.com)
Overview: This company is selling both DNA testing and reports on how you are likely to respond to cannabis.
Price: $49 – $199
Privacy Policy: Their privacy policy does not mention what they do with your DNA data. It does state that they will use your personal information for targeted advertising.

Finding information about genetics on Reddit

Sometimes Reddit has some interesting information about genetics, current research, or just people talking about their 23andMe results.  Check out the Genetic Lifehacks article on subReddits about genetics. 

Popular Genetic Lifehacks articles:

Top 10 Genes to Check in Your Genetic Raw Data
Wondering what is actually important in your genetic data? These 10 genes have important variants with a big impact on health. Check your genes (free article).

Folate & MTHFR
The MTHFR gene codes for a key enzyme in the folate cycle. MTHFR variants can decrease the conversion to methyl folate.

Histamine Intolerance
Chronic headaches, sinus drainage, itchy hives, problems staying asleep, and heartburn — all of these symptoms can be caused by the body not breaking down histamine very well. Your genetic variants could be causing you to be more sensitive to foods high in histamine. Check your genetic data to see if this could be at the root of your symptoms.

ACTN3: Muscle Type Gene
The ACTN3 gene codes for actinin alpha-3, a protein found in muscles. Some people don’t produce this protein, which changes the composition of their muscles.

FUT2: Are you a non-secretor of your blood type?
People with a variant in the FUT2 gene do not secrete their blood type. This affects the gut microbiome – and makes you immune to the norovirus.


infographic explaining 23andme version numbers