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Email says changes are coming “in days”

The Legal Genealogist was one of many long-time 23andMe customers who got the email this past week.

The one with the subject: “Coming soon: A new 23andMe experience.”

The one that says that new “23andMe experience will be ready for you in just a few days.”

The one that leaves me (a) doubtful and (b) yawning.

First off, this is something that’s been talked about for so long that it’s hard to believe it’s actually going to happen. It’s been almost a year since 23andMe started telling its long-time users that the company was considering how it was going to transition older tests to its new reporting platform.

23.change2First, it said it wasn’t sure whether it would happen at all and, if so, what might transition (and what wouldn’t).

But, in the interim, those of us who’d already tested lost all of the introductions we’d sent out to others who’d already tested, and we weren’t able to even try to contact people who’d tested without using some type of username.

That’s still the case today. The notice on DNA Relatives when I signed in this morning read that 23andMe was “continuing to modify some aspects of DNA Relatives in preparation for the transition to the new 23andMe experience. Pending introductions have been canceled. Anonymous participants will only be able to receive messages from users that have been transitioned to the new experience.”

So forgive me if I say, with some rather large degree of cynicism: I’ll believe this when I see it.

But just in case…

We do need to be aware of what the changes are. And, frankly, that’s the yawning part.

Understand, first of all, that us oldtimers aren’t going to get some of the newer health-related reports at all. 23andMe says that those of us who tested on the V3 chip will get the wellness, traits and ancestry reports, but not the carrier status reports: “Carrier Status reports cannot be provided to customers genotyped on the v3 chip version. To receive the FDA authorized versions of the Carrier Status reports, customers will be able to upgrade to our v4 genotyping chip.”

Folks who tested even earlier, on the V1 or V2 chips, will have access to “most” but not all wellness and traits reports and all ancestry reports, but not carrier status reports, and there’s no statement yet as to what “most” means in this context.

Second, one big improvement is that we can all opt for open sharing where we won’t have to go through the cumbersome process of sending sharing invitations and hoping somebody sees them and responds. If even a fraction of the 23andMe users will opt for open sharing, this will make 23andMe much more useful to genealogists than it has been in the past.

You can see a detailed explanation of all the changes in the 23andMe help section for “The New 23andMe.” The specific page for “Mapping features from the original 23andMe to the new 23andMe” provides the most detail about what stays, what goes and what changes are being made.

And it makes it clear that we need to remember that there are some things that we’re going to lose when this changeover comes.

Specific tools that will not be transitioned over to the new reporting system are:

• Haplogroup Tree Mutation Mapper
• Inheritance Calculator
• ABO Blood Lab
• Global Similarity
• Profile SmartSearch
• Family Inheritance Genome View
• Reynold’s Risk Score Lab

One of them is pure and simple a toy: it’s called DNA Melody and it’s a fun representation of our DNA signature in a musical presentation. The link to that right now can be found, after you log in to your account, at https://www.23andme.com/you/labs/music/.

And you can download all the files associated with your account if you’d like to keep them. I did, so I’ll always know that my DNA on the sitar sounds like this.

Okay, so I’m a geek.

Sue me.

Just be prepared for this changeover.

Because — who knows? This time, it just might happen.

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