FTDNA Announces Big Y-500 (over 400 new STRs!)

In conjunction with the National DNA Day Sales, FamilyTreeDNA.com announced the Big Y test is now called Big Y-500 and will include approximately 500 Y-STR results in addition to the SNPs that were traditional reported via the Big Y.

Everyone who has already taken a Big Y will receive updated results showing a 6th Panel of results with markers 111 through 561!  The additional panel was made possible by the recent Build 38 of the Human Genome.

According to the release notes to Group Administrators, “Customers who purchase a Big Y-500 will also have to purchase or upgrade to the Y-DNA111 test.  However, customers do not have to have a Y-STR test already before purchasing the Big Y-500 since it contains the Y-111.  Big Y without STRs will no longer be available.”

For PSHG members (or prospective PSHG members), where Y-111 is required for full membership, we can order the Y-111 test at a non-sale cost of $339 (normally $359).  The Y-111 to Big Y-500 Upgrade is normally $449 (which does not reflect sale prices).  This  totals $788 for those wanting full PSHG membership + access to their “Singleton” or Direct Paternal Lineage SNPs.  Since the Big Y-500 stand alone test is $799, there’s currently no benefit to recommend skipping an initial Y-111 test to go directly to ordering a Big Y-500.  This could change in the future if FTNDA offers a Group Discount for Big Y-500.

It is not yet clear how useful these additional results will be from a genetic genealogical point of view.  Support groups like the R1b-U106 project are not yet able to offer specific insight; however, Dr. Iain McDonald has made some speculations, as written in a forum post:

“- The new STRs are shorter and their mutation rates lower.  Very, very preliminary(!) work based on STR variances suggests the mutation rate in the new sample is around one mutation per 14 generations.  This contrasts with one per 3.4 generations for the original Y-111, and suggests an overall Y-STR mutation rate over the Y-500 STR set of once per 2.8 generations…

– There are some clearly useful, slow STR mutations in there that will define useful family branches in some cases where SNPs have not.  There are also some faster markers that appear to flip back and forth between two or more states.

– On the basis of this information, we should be able to use these results in several aspects of U106 research, including the layering of family trees and more precise computation of ages…Proper research on this will take many months…”

As usual with DNA research, time & research reveals new types of analysis and new results to consider.  The continued sharing of DNA information will enable researchers to continue their work to explain what it all means.

 

FTDNA Holiday Sale – Update!

The 2017 Holiday Sale has begun at Family Tree DNA.  The Y-111 DNA Test (required for PSHG Membership) is on sale for $299 – a savings of $60 off of the regular price.  Visit https://www.familytreedna.com/sale for sale details.

The sale will continue until December 31, 2017.  As we draw closer to the holidays, Admins expect to receive coupon codes to further reduce costs.

UPDATE – 15 NOV 2017

FTDNA Users and Group Administrators are now receiving weekly coupons.  As Group Administrators we have access to a collection of coupon codes, so contact an Admin if you’re interested in a specific test.

Coupons are ranging from:

  • $10 – $20 off for yDNA 37/67/111
  • $10 – $30 off for mtDNA
  • $5 off for Family Finder (atDNA)
  • $25 off for BigY

The holidays are a great time to test if you’ve been on the fence!

FTDNA Friends & Family Sale

FamilyTreeDNA notified Group Administrators that the “Friends & Family Sale” will start tomorrow, August 1st at 10 am CDT.

The graphic below (courtesy of FTNDA) was included in the notification and seems to indicate that the Sales are primarily targeted to Add-on & Upgrade Tests.

2017-friends-family-ftdna-sale

This is a great opportunity for PSHG Members who have already tested with Y-111 and may be interested in ordering the BigY test; however, it’s not yet clear if the Y-111 new test will also be discounted – which is potentially disappointing for pending members.

Check back for updates!

Update – 2 Aug 2017: Y-111 single test is not included on the summer sale.

FTDNA New Sign In Page & Backbone SNP Pack

FamilyTreeDNA.com made a couple of announcements this past week.

First, a new sign in page.  You shouldn’t notice any difference in behavior.  For Project Administrators it clarifies that either a Kit Number or GAP Username can be used to login.  If you have a bookmark or favorite saved, you might need to update it to: https://www.familytreedna.com/sign-in

FTDNA Sign In

There were also some changes to their Password settings:

  • The Password Reset will send a link to the kit’s primary email address.  If you have any issues with this, contact an administrator.
  • While the password qualification still between 5 – 25 characters, passwords are now case sensitive.

The second announcement came in a new product offer – “R1b-M343 & M269v2 Backbone SNP Pack”.  Since PSHG members belong to the upstream haplogroup R1b-M343 (which includes R-M269) you may have received an email about about the new product.  Since PSHG members first test for the downstream SNPs FGC13609/FGC13605, this new SNP pack will probably not provide you any benefit.

For members interested in their SNPs downstream from FGC13609/FGC13605, the BigY test is recommended.

Celebrate DNA Day with Discounts!

April 25 is National DNA Day!  What better way to celebrate than to buy DNA Tests – ON SALE!

FamilyTreeDNA is offering sales on all of their products:

2017 DNA Day Sales

PSHG Members will have already ordered the Y111 test – so Y37, Y67, SNP Backbone, and SNP Packs may not be of much interest.  However, if you’re interested in your SNPs downstream of FGC13609 and FGC13609, now is a great time to order the BigY!  I heard it reported from others that the BigY test has never been this cheap without a coupon code.

Stock up on Family Finder for Autosomal DNA testing or mtFull Sequence for mitochondrial DNA testing.  Rumor has it that AncestryDNA (autosomal) tests will also be on sale, but I have not seen this yet (US market).

Don’t miss this one.  We’ll have to wait and see if there will be sales around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, late Summer, and Christmas.

Happy testing.

Partner Profiles – FTDNA

This is the second of our dual blog posts regarding current DNA testing partners.  Please also check out our Partner Profile on YSEQ.

Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) is a modern powerhouse for DNA testing – Autosomal (atDNA), mtDNA, and yDNA.  Its own website front page boasts, “We have the most comprehensive Y chromosome, autosomal, and mitochondrial ancestry DNA database for genetic genealogists!”[1]  FTDNA circa 2006 received major contributions from familiar folks when Thomas & Astrid Krahn (see Partner Profile on YSEQ) sold the assets of their company DNA-Fingerprint and opened the Genomics Research Center in Houston, TX.[2]  FamilyTreeDNA was founded by Bennett Greenspan (who today serves as President & CEO), Max Blankfeld and Jim Warren.[2]

The PSHG relies on FTDNA’s Y-111 STR test to place members into family groups and to confirm claims made by traditional genealogy.  By analyzing the Y-111 STR results, group administrators can help to verify from which of Peter’s three sons (Peter Jr., John, or James) a member descends.  The test also reveals mutations which can occur naturally through the family group generations.  Click to follow to the PSHG at FTNDA group results.

FTNDA offers lesser marker Y-STR tests (12, 37, 67), but these do not provide enough marker information to be useful to the PSHG.  The Y-STR test will unlock Certified Y-STR Results, Matches, Ancestral & Haplogroup Origins, Haplotree & SNPs data, and Maps related to Matches, Migration, and SNPs.[1].  A similar set of tools can be unlocked by purchasing a Mitochondrial (mtDNA) test to trace one’s maternal lineage.  Family Finder is the Autosomal (atDNA) product comparable to AncestryDNA.  Tools available with this product are: Matches, Chromosome Browser, Linked Relationship, myOrigins, and ancientOrigins.  Returning to Y-DNA products, the Big Y test can provide a detailed SNP analysis and Matches.  When analyzed by a project group such as R1b-U106, one can identify Singleton SNPs which can be further tested and named.

Family Tree DNA’s tests may appear to be expensive to the novice; however, genetic genealogists and DNA hobby enthusiasts appreciate the testing options and relative (compared to historical capabilities and prices) low cost.  Keep an eye out for sales (Summer & Winter) and take advantage.

References:
[1] https://www.familytreedna.com/
[2] https://isogg.org/wiki/Family_Tree_DNA

Partner Profiles – YSEQ

In this short blog series titled Partner Profiles, we’ll introduce you to the two companies with which the PSHG currently does business.  As DNA testing capabilities advance, we may profile new companies, or discuss companies which do Autosomal (atDNA) or mtDNA testing, but for now, we’ll focused on yDNA.

YSEQ DNA Origins was started by Thomas and Astrid Krahn in 2013.  A new PSHG applicant’s  introduction to yDNA testing is often through this German based lab’s SNP test kit.  Thomas and Astrid previously owned DNA-Fingerprint (whose assets were bought by Family Tree DNA in 2006). [1]  The buyout lead to Thomas and Astrid helping to open the Houston, TX based Genomics Research Center which, by September 2012, was restructured into Family Tree DNA, a division of Gene by Gene, Ltd.[2]

The PSHG is very fortunate in that we have identified two SNPs (FGC13609/FGC13605) which prove genetic descent from Peter Staple (c1642-1719).  Along with the upstream SNPs, this is referred to as the PSHG Y-DNA HAPLOGROUP lineage.  For many individuals, projects, and heritage groups, this is the Holy Grail of DNA test results.  YSEQ is such a valuable partner because they offer inexpensive, individual SNP testing which can be used as an initial test to affordably confirm claims made by traditional genealogy.

According to the ISOGG Wiki article on YSEQ, “YSEQ offers a potentially unlimited menu of single SNPs to order (Wish a SNP).”[3]  For members on the hunt for Direct Paternal Lineage SNPs, one could take the FamilyTreeDNA’s BigY test to identify Singleton SNPs and then use the Wish a SNP product to provide those locations for testing and naming.  In addition to Y-SNP tests, YSEQ offers Y-STR and Whole genome testing.[3]

YSEQ has recently created a Facebook Public Group which will be useful for easily keeping up with their announcements, sales, and developments.[4]

Join us for our next blog post introducing Family Tree DNA.

References:
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Tree_DNA
[2] https://isogg.org/wiki/Family_Tree_DNA
[3] https://isogg.org/wiki/YSEQ
[4] https://www.facebook.com/groups/1251774588234936/