For nearly two years now, the H600 Project has recommended 23andme as the first test for any / all to perform to become a part of the group.  This because of the importance at getting our oldest ancestors tested immediately, the price point they set and brought the market down to, and the superior results and tools they provided.  But alas, with their latest “Netflix-like” move, they move from first recommend to last; at least with our Autosomal DNA testing recommendation.

Update: 23andMe now offer, 6 months later, a genealogical only test kit for $99. Basically the same thing they used to offer for $99 sans any health reports. Even though AncestryDNA’s test database has more than doubled 23andMe’s (to well over 2 million), the fact that AncestryDNA does not provide mtDNA testing nor contact capability to your matches without a subscription; well, we have jumped back and put 23andMe back to the top of our recommended list.

23andMe dropped their price and subscription requirements a number of years ago.  This instantly made their product the best value on the genetic genealogy market and that continued to hold until recently. They surged to become the largest database of testers to match against; by far. Additionally, through our own experience and results documented in our testing table, they provide the most SNP’s across all DNA — more than any comparable test.  You are not just getting Autosomal with X, but also Y and Mitochondrial DNA SNP’s tested and returned in your results.  As a result, you get your matrilineal and patrilineal haplogroup in addition to the autosomal test to find nearer term relatives.  And all for $100. over the last few years.1  Beside the SNP’s from all your DNA, they also had some of the best analysis and reporting tools, and have fixed the lack of any pedigree reporting of late by a collaboration with MyHeritage to upload pedigrees there.  Due to the surge of testers, they catapulted to the top of the Autosomal tested database size; easily doubling even since they stopped providing the health indicators.  And their reputation for poor response to genealogical inquiries with those tested; that went right out the door as well (now that health indicators was not the primary reason for taking the test).

But just this week, 23andMe has released that they will now be providing some health indicators again.  And they have doubled their price to $200.  Worse yet, in the same manner they so brazing-ly declared a change a few years ago, they have announced the coming of a new, redesigned, better website for all users going forward; that will also be retroactive onto existing users.  Based on their track record for ignoring their customer base and likely what their interests are, we hold little hope that this new website will be as helpful and supportive for the genealogical community as it has been.  And that existing customers may likely lose what they have now; specifically even their wide ranging health indicators that 23andMe had left available for old customers.  Because of the price jump, and the uncertainty for the future, we are dropping them from top of the recommended testing list.  If things improve or change again, we will reconsider this decision.

1  Yeah, they even had health characteristics thrown in for awhile until the FDA shut that down. And likely this is what drove them to a large test database as most seemed interested in their health report and not any potential genealogical match with distant cousins. They started getting a bad rap that their large database of testers was unresponsive to queries from genealogists who tested and were matching. Update: Guess what? AncestryDNA has even a worse rap about non-response with their 2 million plus test database size. People did not take their bait-and-switch technique at AncestryDNA to take the test but then have to buy a genealogical records search subscription to contact matches on your list.