R DF99 and Subclades

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About us

Welcome to the R1b-DF99 and Subclades project!

R-DF99 and Subclades Project- Background

This project is for those who have tested positive for DF99 or one of its descendant markers. DF99 (also known as S11987) is a subclade of the R(1b)-P312 haplogroup. DF99 is a genetic marker on the Y chromosome of a type called an SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism). SNPs occur as the result of a genetic mutation. In the case of DF99, a C is replaced by an A at position 8829481. Once an SNP occurs on the Y chromosome, it is passed down to all male descendants forever, so they operate like an ancient genetic surname. Since the DF99 marker is only found in men who are also have the P312 marker, it constitutes a subclade of R-P312. DF99 appears on the ISOGG R YDNA tree as R1b1a2a1a2f.

The first man to have the DF99 marker is currently estimated to have lived around 2700 BC. He most likely lived within a few generations of the first man to have the P312 marker, as DF99 appears to be one of the oldest subclades of P312. All men who have the DF99 marker are direct descendants in the male line from the first man in whom the mutation occurred. While the P312 is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe, its DF99 subclade appears at present to be fairly rare. DF99, along with P312 subclades L238 and DF19, appear to much less numerous than the three larger P312 subclades of L21, U152 and DF27. The primary difference in STR markers between DF99 and its P312 father is a single STR marker, DYS 389-1. A 12 at that marker is virtually universal in the DF99 subclade. This value only occurs in about 5% of R1b, almost all of whom have a 13 (or less commonly a 14) there instead. DYS389-1 is a very stable marker, so there is a very good chance that the first man to have the DF99 mutation already had a 12 there.

Since the DF99 marker is several thousand years old, if you are DF99+, anyone who shares a common male line ancestor with you in the past four thousand years or so will also have the DF99 marker. if they don't, they cannot be related in the male line within that time frame. Put another way, men who are DF99+ and DF99- cannot be related in the male line within a genealogical time frame, regardless of whether you have matching surnames or how closely your STR markers match. 

There is good evidence that P312 men rapidly spread through Europe from the Eurasian steppes during the Copper and Bronze Ages. This was likely connected with the Bell Beaker culture, who brought metal working, Indo-European languages, horses and wheeled vehicles to Europe during that time. However unlike some of the larger P312 subclades, DF99 appears to have little or no presence along the western Atlantic seaboard. This suggests the DF99 subclade may have been concentrated among what are called the Eastern Beakers, as they seem to have remained distinct from the western or Atlantic Beakers. The Eastern Beakers were present in the areas of what are now Poland and Hungary. However other possibilities, such as some presence among the Rhenish Beakers or those in the upper Danube or Alpine regions, cannot be dismissed at this point. DF99 appears to have the most eastern distribution of any of the P312 subclades. Since the current data shows DF99 is primarily found in Germany and England, it is likely that at least a large portion of DF99 was absorbed into the Germanic people at an early date. The current data suggests DF99 is more numerous on the continent than in Britain. However the possibility of some presence of DF99 among the Celts and Italics cannot be ruled out at this stage. All this remains highly speculative pending further DNA analysis of ancient remains in Europe.

Big Y and other NGS testing of DF99 men shows that they are divided into three further subclades, each of which is distinguished by an SNP in addition to DF99. All three subclades are known to have further subdivisions, each of those having one or more additional SNPs. A partial, somewhat simplified version of what is known of the DF99 tree follows:

FGC847 (FGC846)



     S16136 (S23540)


BY3449 (BY3450)


Those in listed in bold are currently tested by FTDNA as part of the P312 SNP pack, or may be ordered individually. The positions of those in parentheses, in relation to the others on the same line, are undetermined at present. While it is hoped that other DF99 SNPs will be added to the FTDNA P312 Pack in the not too distant future, all of them and more are currently tested in the Big Y test. The DF99 tree will undoubtedly expand with further Big Y or other NGS testing of DF99 men.

Key steps for you to take 

1. You must have a test result with Family Tree DNA (FTDNA.) To read more about DNA testing check the DNA FAQ item in the menu above. National Genographic Project testers can easily join, but first you must transfer your test results to FTDNA by following the instructions at your National Genographic web page. Genographic customers must order Y STRs or they will not appear on the project screens and in the Y MATCHING system. However as mentioned below, the Geno 2 test does not test for DF99, so those who are DF99 and do that test will not be so identified. They will most likely only get a R1b-P310 result.

2. To join this project click on JOIN in the graphic banner above and login with your FTDNA account ID and password.

3. Update your myFTDNA dashboard by clicking on MANAGE PERSONAL INFORMATION. This is critical to finding potential relatives and understanding origins.

3A. Make sure your privacy settings are correct for the project. Click on the tab PRIVACY & SHARING. Look under MY DNA RESULTS for the question "Who can view my DNA results in group projects?".  Change to ANYONE if it isn't already. The default option does not allow others in the project to see your results.

3B. Update your Paternal Ancestor name and origins. Click on the tab PERSONAL PROFILE tab and scroll down to update your paternal origins information from the MyFTDNA dashboard after logged into. Select MOST DISTANT ANCESTORS and complete the information for your PATERNAL DIRECT most distant (oldest) ancestor. Please enter only information that is not speculative. Enter first and last names, birth year and as specific a birth and origin location as you can in the NAME field. For example, “James Welch, b.c.1812, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland”. For the COUNTRY OF ORIGIN field, please be as specific as possible. For instance, rather than select UNITED KINGDOM please pick either ENGLAND, IRELAND, NORTHERN IRELAND, SCOTLAND OR WALES if you know the origin. Add the latitude and longitude information as well so that the automatic maps can be drawn properly.
If you don't know, that is okay. Unknown may be the correct answer.
4. Join the Facebook discussion group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/R1b.YDNA/. Project administrators and advanced hobbyists are available on the R1b Y DNA project Facebook forum so you can get help and share ideas. If you don't like Facebook please use the project's FTDNA Activity Feed for communications with project administrators.

5. If you have not yet tested to 67 Y STRs (Short Tandem Repeats) please upgrade. European R1b (M269) is young and relatively closely related, so one can get a number of apparent but false matches at the lower numbers of STRs.  67 markers are essential for R1b-M269, including DF99. 111 STR testing is clearly preferable and a better deal in terms of cost per STR, but 67 is the minimum needed. To learn more, read http://www.familytreedna.com/learn/y-dna-testing/y-str/upgrading-markers-improve-information/

More STRs can help...

a) guide you on SNP/haplogroup testing, saving money on that kind of testing,

b) provide additional and better matches on your myFTDNA matches screen,

c) improve precision for Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor (TMRCA) estimates,

d) and going all the way to 111 Y STRs supports family tree building when you reach brick walls in your genealogy, since the 111 STR panel is estimated to have a change once every three generations.

6. Move forward with an Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) testing plan so your subclade can be identified and haplogroup labeled properly. Evaluating matches you have at 67 or 111 STRs can be very helpful and should not be overlooked. Clear patterns among your best matches may help you decide what SNPs or SNP Packs to buy. This project's Activity Feed as well as the R1b-P312-project yahoo group are setup to help you evaluate testing plans.

SNPs can be ordered one at a time from FTDNA by logging into your myFTDNA account, selecting the blue UPGRADES button and then scrolling down to the ADVANCED TESTS box and the BUY NOW button. SNP Packs can also be ordered here.

6A. Big Y-700 is the preferred test.  It is probably the most important test you can take. It is a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) test that discovers new SNPs by scanning over 14.5 million locations on the Y chromosome. The tremendous benefit in this is you will discover SNPs for just your paternal lineage as well as identify ancient SNPs that you may share with many, many other people. Big Y has the ability to discover SNPs that are pertinent to the genealogical timeframe, the last couple of hundred years. A Big Y test will also hekp advance our knowledge of the substructure of DF99. The Big Y learning web site has more details. https://www.familytreedna.com/learn/y-dna-testing/big-y/ Please read the Lewis and Clark Expedition analogy for Big Y exploration on the FAQ page. https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/r-df99/faq/

6B. The R1b-P312 SNP Pack is a very cost effective option that gives you partial coverage of R1b-DF99. At the very least it should tell you which of the three currently known subclades of DF99 you fall into.  You can order it from your myFTDNA account. If you don't see the option, please check the blue UPGRADES button, then the BUY NOW button in the ADVANCED TESTS box, and pick SNP PACK in the SELECT A PRODUCT box. Please post on the Activity Feed forum if you need help.

If you have a true interest in genetic genealogy and breaking beyond the brickwalls of your genealogical records, please strongly consider both Big Y to determine your haplogroup down to a very recent timeframe and 111 STRs so that you can refine your close-in family and surname mutation history tree.

7. It should be pointed out that the Geno 2 Next Gen test from National Genographic does not at present include testing for DF99. Although it does test for other things besides YDNA SNPs, it is not recommended for SNP testing for those who are DF99.

A little more about SNPs

Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) are critical for R1b people. R1b is both a very large group and relatively young. Most European R1b paternal lineages are related within the last several thousand years. That means that R1b STR based haplotypes often look alike. The most common pattern of Y STRs is the
Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype (WAMH). Most R1b people match several components of it. It is just a remnant of the fact we are closely related. SNPs help differentiate the branches of R1b’s descendants tree. A high level simplified version is on this projects "About" overview web page.

R1b-DF99 itself, the main branch of our tree, is marked by the SNP DF99+. We all are DF99+ since it was present in our common ancestor, a single prehistoric man. There are many known branches on the R1b-DF99 tree.

Many of these branches have coincidentally matching Y STRs. In other words, their branches appear to cross. This gives us false matches.This is definitely a problem with limited haplotypes of 12 and 25 STR markers. Getting up to 37 helps, but 67 is really needed.

STRs are very useful for general guidance and for matching at the very recent family level, but they are not 100% reliable since some mutate relatively quickly and go both up and down and back to where they started from.

SNPs are much more reliable markers for our paternal lineages. Theoretically, they are permanent throughout eternity so they reliably show our branching of paternal lineages. The number of SNPs available for testing is growing as more and more advanced testing is developed. You will want to identify your terminal SNP, which is the youngest SNP mutation that you have, that is on a formal Y DNA tree. Your terminal SNP tells you where you fit from a deep ancestral perspective.

SNPs help...

a) make you more efficient by avoiding false matches when checking for potential genealogical relationships,

b) help you identify deep ancestral family, clan or historical origins,

c) show you what geographic locations might produce additional matches and pertinent genealogical or historical information and

d) benefit all R1b people in general, as well as science, because we'll have a better understanding of how and when this lineage of men spread across Europe as rapidly and as dominantly as it did.

For additional information on SNP testing please visit http://dna-explained.com/2012/08/10/to-snp-or-not-to-snp/

SNP testing, and Big Y700 in particular, is the way to discover and document your Family Y DNA Subclade.Y Giant Tree

This is a public project. The more of us who test and share our information, the more we will all know. When you join this project, you have granted permission to place your Y SNP and STR data into the public domain, from which it can never be retrieved. We do not publish your full given name or contact info.

Thank you for your consideration. Please review the Results web page. If you have specific questions please post on the Activity Feed.