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DNA Relatives: The Basics

The DNA Relatives tool is one of the most interactive features of 23andMe, allowing you to find and connect with genetic relatives and learn more about your family.

  • The DNA Relatives tool can identify relatives on any branch of your family tree. It does this by taking advantage of the autosomal chromosomes - the 22 chromosomes that are passed down from your ancestors on both sides of your family - and your X chromosome(s).
  • Relatives are identified by comparing your DNA with the DNA of other 23andMe members who are participating in the DNA Relatives feature. When two people are found to have an identical DNA segment, they very likely share a recent common ancestor. DNA Relatives uses the length and number of these identical segments to predict the relationship between genetic relatives. Generally long stretches of identical DNA indicate a recent common ancestor and therefore a close relationship. 
  • The number of relatives listed is different for each person and grows over time as more people join 23andMe. People with European or Ashkenazi ancestry typically have many matches; people with Asian or Middle Eastern ancestry tend to have fewer matches. 


Choosing to Participate

Participating in the DNA Relatives feature is optional. When your 23andMe results become available, you are given the choice to participate. You'll see the following notice when you visit the feature and complete the DNA Relatives Tutorial:


Each user participating in DNA Relatives has the option to download a file containing their list of DNA Relatives, including display names, profile sexes, and predicted relationships, as well as any additional information the match has chosen to share through the "enhance your profile" step.

You have the ability to change your participation status at anytime through DNA Relatives or your account settings. If you are expecting to see a known relative in your list and that relative does not appear, check with them to make sure they have opted in to participate in DNA Relatives.


Additional Resources


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