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23andMe Provides the Science Behind PBS Series "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr." With Its Personal Genome ServiceĀ®
Date:4/9/2012

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Barbara Walters, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Wanda Sykes and a host of celebrities are tracing their ancestry in the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (http://www.pbs.org/findingyourroots) with the scientific help of leading personal genetics company, 23andMe.  23andMe genotyped all of the celebrities featured on Finding Your Roots and consulted with show producers to help them map the heritage and discover the global origins of each celebrity. Finding Your Roots premiered Sunday, March 25 at 8 pm and airs for nine consecutive weeks through Sunday, May 20 at 8 pm on PBS (check local listings).

Saliva samples from the celebrities were used to provide the DNA, which was extracted from the cheek cells found in their saliva. DNA samples were then genotyped on 23andMe's customized genotyping array, which reads more than one million specific points, called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), in an individual's genome. In addition, 23andMe evaluates tens of thousands of handpicked SNPs focused on particular traits selected from the scientific literature to provide personal genetic information available only through 23andMe. All laboratory testing provided for 23andMe customers and Finding Your Roots participants is performed in a CLIA-certified laboratory.

Until recently, DNA genealogy tests could assess only one or two branches of a person's family tree, because they used only the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA. 23andMe analyzes these DNA segments along with "autosomal" DNA from chromosomes 1 to 22, allowing individuals to trace ancestry along many branches of their family tree. The company's Relative Finder feature also enables individuals to connect with their living relatives w
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