GEDmatch: do more with your 23andMe raw data
GEDmatch vs. 23andMe
23andMe was one of the first companies on the DNA testing scene. Backed by Google Ventures and other large venture capital firms, 23andMe has been used by around 5 million curious consumers. GEDmatch, on the other hand, is a free tool available online for amateur genetic genealogists to uncover their past. The article below gives pros and cons for each company and discusses the data compatibility they share.
- $99 for Ancestry Service
- $199 for Health + Ancestry Service
- One of the largest and best reviewed genetic testing companies
- Can get information on genetic risks and ancestry
- An easy-to-use platform for understanding test results and finding DNA matches
- Download your raw DNA data file for use on GEDmatch.com and other sites
- DNA testing results are not customizable
- No free services
23andMe has made its way to the top rung of DNA testing companies since its inception in 2006. With their Health + Ancestry DNA test kit, they have a bit of information for every curious DNA novice. With their platform, you can find living relatives, discover your genetic risk for various conditions, and view a chromosome browser to look at your DNA.
- Most features FREE
- $10/month for Tier 1 Features
- A mostly-free genetic genealogy service
- Use a variety of tools to measure your DNA in centimorgans (cM) and compare DNA segments to others
- Find relatives on the platform, and research your haplotype
- Steep learning curve
- Visually unappealing platform
GEDmatch Genesis is a platform which allows users to research their own genome using a number of tools for genealogy research. For example, you can measure your genome in total cM, then compare that measurement to matches on the platform to see how close you are related. The site will also give you an admixture report, similar to an “ethnicity estimate”. After uploading a raw data file, the platform allows you to use a chromosome browser and measure components of your autosomal DNA, X-DNA, mtDNA, and Y-DNA.
With their Tier 1 phasing tool, you can even split your genome into maternal and paternal sources to better track your mom and dad’s family, and see which other users you have DNA in common with. Other Tier 1 tools include the ability to recreate a deceased person’s DNA from their relatives, or the ability to research a GEDCOM family tree. Although GEDmatch is complex, it is used by law enforcement as a family finder for unknown or criminal DNA samples.
23andMe and GEDmatch Compatibility
If you get a genetic test through 23andMe, you will be able to download a DNA file which is compatible with GEDmatch. Although 23andMe has some ancestry tools and allows you to match to users within their database, you can often find additional matches and other information with your test results on GEDmatch.
Do More With Your Raw DNA Data!
23andMe tests a significant amount of SNPs. Over 600,000, in fact! While they use many of these to explore traits related to health and ancestry, they do not give you information on all of these sites. GEDmatch is a great tool for exploring your ancestry, but they give no other information. To get the most of your DNA kit, consider the following companies. Many of them allow you to upload your 23andMe DNA results for free, and can provide you information on nutrition, health, fitness, and many other traits.
GEDmatch, 23andMe - Take Your Genetic Research to the Next Level
We just reviewed some of the differences and similarities between 23anMe and GEDmatch, with the main one being, of course, that GEDmatch doesn’t offer DNA testing. It’s a genetics research site that relies on users uploading their raw DNA data to be useful. And that’s where 23andMe comes in. 23andMe does offer DNA testing, as well as reports on your ancestry, genetic traits, and other genetic insights. It also lets you download your raw DNA data, which you can then upload into GEDmatch’s site to gain additional information about your unique genetic makeup.
It’s very common for those conducting genetic research for themselves or their families to consult multiple sources of genetic information. That’s because not all sites have the same databases, resources, tools, or insights. When you use a secondary source and more, you can start to build a more complete picture of the story of you.
That said, each DNA company also comes with its own pros and cons, and GEDmatch and 23anMe are not the exceptions to this rule. Many users ask, for example, “Does 23andMe share your DNA?” Thankfully, the company is quite transparent about its privacy practices, with its main policy being that they won’t ever share any of your information without your explicit consent.
One of the challenges with GEDmatch is that users report it has a visually unpleasant and difficult to navigate website. It also comes with a steep learning curve, as much of the information it offers is highly scientific in nature. You’ll want to study up on how to use GEDmatch before you start, but for those who master this site, their findings can be incredibly detailed and interesting.
Another factor to consider is that each of these sites comes with their own costs. Depending on your budget (and your interest level), you might not want to go all in on all of the features of both. For example, the starter kit on 23andMe costs $99. You’ll get a DNA test and some genetic insights in their basic report. To go deeper, you’ll have to pay $199. If you’re not worried about the cost, you’ll still want to consider other factors such as how much time you want to dedicate to your research and what information is most important to you.
If you’re ready to go all in and take your genetic research to the next level, combining your use of 23andMe and GEDmatch could be the way to go. Simply get your raw data from 23andMe, upload it to GEDmatch (the two sites are compatible), and start exploring your ancestry. 23andMe has some ancestry tools, such as ones that allow you to match to users within their database, but you can often find additional matches and other information with your test results on GEDmatch.
Once you’ve mastered GEDmatch, why not take your raw 23andMe data to other sites for additional information? Depending on what’s most interesting to you - building a family tree, health and wellness - you can find a site that provides what you’re looking for. Genomelink has tools and insights you won’t find anywhere else, and is also compatible with 23andMe’s raw DNA data. Upload your data today and get started for FREE with Genomelink.
To find out more DNA upload sites, check out our article "The Best DNA Upload Sites"