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Can You Upload Ancestry DNA to 23andMe?

Can you upload Ancestry DNA to 23andMe? In this post, find out why you can’t transfer your raw Ancestry data to 23andMe, and what you should do instead.

It’s easy to download your Ancestry DNA data and upload it to other sites. There are several great companies that accept uploads from other DNA testing companies.

Can You Upload Ancestry DNA to 23andMe?

The benefits of uploading to other sites are great, and so it is natural to wonder if we can upload Ancestry DNA to 23andMe, too. It would be like getting the best of both worlds!

However, 23andMe does not accept uploaded DNA from Ancestry or any other DNA testing company. In addition, Ancestry doesn’t accept uploads, either.

What’s going on here?

Why can’t you upload DNA to 23andMe?

There are a few good reasons why a company like 23andMe wouldn’t accept uploads from other companies. In short, the reasons relate to privacy protection concerns and ensuring that each customer gets the highest quality results possible.

Uploads of DNA data can present privacy concerns

Even though I am generally supportive of the ability to download our DNA data and upload to other sites, it is not without risks to do so. Both 23andMe and Ancestry DNA do not accept uploads, and it is easy to understand why privacy concerns are one of the top reasons behind their no-upload policies.

In an article describing steps that you can take to protect the privacy of your raw DNA data once you’ve downloaded it from 23andMe, they describe how they are able to ensure that all of the DNA data in their database belongs to real people.

By making sure that all of the DNA data, or DNA samples, in their database actually came from a real person who gave consent for their DNA to be tested, 23andMe protects the privacy of all of their customers. None of the DNA samples in the database can possibly belong to people who didn’t consent to having their DNA there.

More importantly, all of the DNA samples on 23andMe are real. 23andMe knows that they are real because all of the DNA data came from actual saliva samples that were sent in by customers wanting their DNA tested.

23andMe and Ancestry DNA test different locations in your genome

The second major reason that these larger companies do not accept uploads is because their testing processes are not identical. For example, each company tests many overlapping single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in a customer’s genome, but also tests some that the other company doesn’t.

None of the current popular consumer DNA testing services test the entire human genome. Each company tests far less than 1% of our total DNA.

23andMe currently tests about 700,000 SNPs on their latest V5 chip, their most recent test version. Ancestry DNA tests about the same number, but the exact positions might vary a bit.

In other words, the tests don’t test 100% identical portions of your DNA. Interesting, right?

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What to do instead of transferring DNA data to 23andMe

Because 23andMe doesn’t test the exact same SNPs that Ancestry does, we might be able to learn slightly different things about our DNA, and thus, our ancestry and family tree, but testing with both companies. My recommendation is to do a DNA test with 23andMe, in addition to the Ancestry test that you might have already done.

If you haven’t already done an Ancestry DNA test, you can read more about it here: What Does Ancestry DNA Tell You?

What new things will you learn from your 23andMe results?

Even if you already did a DNA test with Ancestry or another DNA testing company, you are sure to discover new information about your ancestry and family tree from a 23andMe test.

Your 23andMe ethnicity estimate will be similar – but also different

Your 23andMe results might reveal something new about where your ancestors might have lived from your ethnicity estimate, which is called the Ancestry Composition report. For example, 23andMe even shows us which regions within the countries where our ancestors lived most closely match our DNA:

Detailed aspects of 23andMe ancestry composition indicating DNA matching to five regions in the Netherlands, with most closely matching regions showing in darker shades of blue
From my dad’s report – our ancestors were from Holland, and we can see the regions within the Netherlands that match his DNA the best

You will find new DNA matches on 23andMe

You will also get a list of DNA matches that will be different than the list of DNA matches at the other companies where you have tested or uploaded your DNA. To me, this is the biggest reason to do a 23andMe test.

Our family has discovered many important connections genetic relatives, both close and distant, through our 23andMe results. On 23andMe, DNA matches are called DNA Relatives.

By testing with 23andMe, along with Ancestry DNA, you are sure to find a large number of DNA matches.

You will learn about your direct-line maternal and paternal ancestors through their haplogroups

One of the most exciting aspects of 23andMe results is the Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroup results. This information is a great way to discover the ancient origins of your direct-line maternal and possibly, paternal, ancestors.

Q-M3-on-23andme-haplogroup
Q-M3 is a common Native American haplogroup

In the image above, you can see that this DNA tester belongs to the Q-M3 haplogroup. His Y-DNA shows that his father’s father’s father’s father (et al.) was Native American.

It is important to note that only males receive Y-DNA haplogroup results. This is because only males have Y-DNA.

Both males and females have mtDNA, which is why both males and females will recieve results for their maternal haplogroup.

You can read more about haplogroups here:

Conclusion

I hope that this post has helped you learn a little bit about the reasons you can’t upload your Ancestry DNA to 23andMe (and vice versa). There really is a lot to learn from both tests, so I hope you get the chance to do each one.

If you have any questions about something that you have read here, or if you would like to share a story about something you learned by testing with two different companies, I would love to hear from you in the discussion below.

Thanks for reading today!

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Cathy

Monday 5th of April 2021

I've been hearing from people that they read people get different results but to them that means that all of these sites are inaccurate. I feel the more testing and different results definitely could help. I plan to take purchase from Ancestry next and then 23andMe. This post gave me relief that others feel the same way! Thank you.

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