23andMe Comparing 23andMe chip versions


Veteran member
Reaction score
Ethnic group
23andMe was founded in 2006. Its original test (v1) cost $998. It was replaced in September 2008 by a more affordable test (v2) that only cost $400 and really kickstarted the company's rise. Two years later, v3 was released, which increased the number of SNPs to close to one million. Oddly enough the newest version (v4), released in Nov. 2013 only has 60% of the v3's SNPs. From May 2015 the number of SNPs was further lowered. I have not find any explanation for the reduction of SNPs in v4 and v4 bis.

Chip versionIntroducedIllumina BeadChip platform usedSNPs genotypedY-DNA SNPsmtDNA SNPs
v1November 2007Illumina 4-sample HumanHap550 Plus576,0001,880?
v2September 2008Illumina 4-sample HumanHap550 Plus597,0001,8212,040
v3November 2010Illumina 12-sample HumanOmniExpress Plus992,0001,7662,459
v4November 2013Illumina 24-sample HTS iSelect HD611,0002,3293,154
v4 bisMay 2015598,897??
v5July 2017Infinium Global Screening Array-24 v1.0 BeadChip630,429 3,7334,318
Last edited:
Is there any simple explanation for why the change was made if it's less precise than the previous one? Is it just a matter of cost for 23andme? I'm new to all this, so forgive my ignorance.
It probably is due to cost. They did mention that they wanted to be able to process more samples at the same time.
Last edited:
Thanks Expredel. I have updated the table. The new v5 chip has considerably more Y-DNA and mtDNA SNPs. It also uses a Global Screening Array (GSA) like Living DNA.
The AncestryDNA info is slightly outdated as well, v1 tests 885 SNPs, v2 tests 1692 Y SNPs. I guess it would need to be pointed out clearly that you have to extract the results yourself.

The nocalls for 23andme appear to be random between files. I wonder if most of the additional SNPs are there to serve as reference points and fix alignment issues caused by deletions.
A lot of people these days are interested in the raw DNA data file that can be downloaded for free from these ancestry genetic testing websites. This enables them to upload it on third party tools like Promethease and Xcode Life to get additional information about their health for as low as $10. 23andMe's latest chip includes the most number of health related markers. So you can get information about predisposition to 100s of diseases and lifestyle related traits.

This thread has been viewed 11435 times.