This page summarizes options available when registering a DNA test kit from 23andMe, and that can managed within a 23andMe account.
If you are not registering a kit, a trial account can be set up to use an older version of the 23andMe website and explore the different features provided to customers. Following the registration of a kit, modifying some Settings for the account can be reached through the menu at the upper-right hand side of the browser window.
Be certain to look at each of the following categories when setting up or managing the account for your kit:
If you do not already have an account on 23andMe, create an account. Decide what email account you want to use. You will be able to control messaging to your email, from solicitations to contacts from relatives, but here is where you should determine the email account where you want the messages directed. Consider using an email account that can be easily accessed over the web, and that you plan to use for a long time.
Preferences for Participation in the 23andMe Personal Genome Service
These controls can be continuously managed through the Preferences options in the Account Settings.
Control of email from 23andMe and its messaging service can be managed by selecting the different available options. It is better to control messaging through the 23andMe Preferences options, rather than unsubscribing from messages within your email client. The later blocks email from 23andMe web domain and may prevent you from getting email you want, such as a password reset.
With the Research Consent option, you are controlling whether 23andMe can use your personal, genetic and reported data for research purposes. Research using customer data is a major aspect of the 23andMe business model. 23andMe is interested in analyses of customer data to identify genetic markers that influence variation in characteristics among humans. This includes disease related research, for which 23andMe has been awarded major research grants from the National Institutes of Health.
You also must choose the fate of your DNA sample. 23andMe will either store your sample until they deem as a company that they want to destroy it, or you can opt for 23andMe to destroy your sample after it has completed processing.
When results are returned to you, a tutorial on the Health Reports will be provided to you followed by the option to view your Health Reports. The choice to view, or not, your Health Reports can be revisited in the Preferences group of the Account Settings.
These controls can be continuously managed through the Privacy/Sharing options in the Account Settings.
One feature of the 23andMe website is the option to 'Share Genomes' with other users. For example, you can simply make a request to share genomes with another classmate identified through the person's 23andMe user name. If the person accepts the request, you will each have access to each others Ancestry Composition and you will be able to make direct comparisons of regions shared between your genomes. Health information can be shared also if you like. If you participate in the 'DNA Relatives' feature, individuals listed among your DNA Relatives will request to share genomes with you. These requests can be blocked through the Privacy/Sharing options.
With the 'DNA Relatives Option', you are controlling your participation in the DNA Relatives report on the 23andMe website. Your DNA will be compared with other users in the 23andMe database, and a list of matches will be reported giving an estimate of the relationship and the genetic basis for the match. This is the option where you could discover relatives that you previously had not known about!!! By opting to Not Participate in DNA Relatives 23andMe will not report to you other users that match your sample, and you will not appear as a match in DNA Relatives list of other users. You can decide to opt into DNA Relatives matching at a later date.
DNA Relatives Preferences
For participants in the DNA Relatives feature, different options are available for participation. A link, Update DNA Relatives profile, on the DNA Relatives page as captured below can be used to navigate to these settings.
An option is available to "Share DNA" among 23andMe users. You can request that another 23andMe user shares with you, and others will request that you share with them. These are individual requests and permissions that can be managed through the options available in the "Share and Compare" feature. When managing a DNA Relatives profile, an "Open Sharing" option is available. This enables all of your DNA matches to see your profile information, including your estimated Ancestry Composition, and it also makes your matching segment information open for viewing and analysis. A "Relatives in Common" feature is also enabled by open sharing. On the page of a DNA Relative that is sharing openly, a list of common DNA relatives - each participating in open sharing - is provided.
If you do not opt out of the DNA Relatives matching, controlling your personal profile is important. The Account Settings and the DNA Relatives profile determine the amount of information about you that is available to other users of 23andMe. You can choose to represent your name as a set of initials or various options on the name provided in the Account Settings.
If you no longer want to participate in 23andMe, send a request to close your account. The following is that statement regarding closure of an account from the 23andMe Privacy Statement.
"If you no longer wish to participate in our Services or no longer wish to have your personal information be used, you may close your account by sending a request to Customer Care. When closing an account, we remove all Genetic Information within your account (or profile) within thirty (30) days of our receipt of your request. As stated in any applicable Consent Document, however, Genetic Information and/or Self-Reported Information that you have previously provided and for which you have given consent to use in 23andMe Research cannot be removed from ongoing or completed studies that use the information. Our contracted genotyping laboratory may also retain your Genetic Information as required by local law and we may retain backup copies for a limited period of time pursuant to our data protection policies. In addition, we retain limited Registration Information related to your order history (e.g., name, contact, and transaction data) as long as your account is active or as needed to provide you services, as well as for accounting, audit and compliance purposes."