Analysis of the name ’23andMe’

23andme.pngAs you all know, I have high hopes for the genetic profiling company 23andMe. Although 23andMe has not officially launched a product available to the public, it turns out that the founders have chosen a great name for their company.

Nancy Friedman, a name developer and corporate copywriter based in Oakland, has written a lengthy analysis of the name ‘23andMe’ on her blog ‘Away with Words.’ She suggests that the name was deftly crafted and is even better than the oft-suggested name ‘46andMe.’ Ms. Friedman’s post is also the first place I’ve ever seen a pronunciation for Anne Wojcicki’s last name (which is wo-JIT-skee). Turns out I wasn’t too far off!

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007


  1. Thanks for the link and the kind words! One correction to what was probably a typo: the alternative I suggested was “46andMe” (the actual number of chromosomes), not “43andMe.”

  2. There are two drawbacks to the name 23andme:

    1.) It may limit the company to human genetics. This is OK; however, if the company has a Google like ambition to organize all genetic knowledge, it should have a different name.

    2.) Within humans, the name is exclusionary since it does not take into account conditions such as Klinefelter’s syndrome (esp. xxyy). In other words, 23 could be a rather simplistic view of a “me”.

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