The BIG Y product is a Y-chromosome, direct paternal lineage test. We have designed it to explore deep ancestral links on our common paternal tree. BIG Y tests thousands of known branch markers, as well as millions of places where there may be new branch markers. We intend it for expert users with an interest in advancing science.

It may also be of great interest to genealogy researchers of a specific lineage. It is not, however, a test for matching you to one or more men with the same surname in the way of our Y-DNA37 and other tests.

You may learn more about the methodology and science behind the BIG Y test by reading our BIG Y white paper published August 28, 2014.

Who may order the BIG Y?

Any male Family Tree DNA customer with a complete Y-STR test may order the Big Y product. However, we do ask that you consider carefully before ordering.

  • A high quality sample is needed for BIG Y. Therefore, the person tested should be willing and able to provide a new DNA sample if needed.
  • All customers are strongly encouraged to seek the guidance of a Y-DNA haplogroup project administrator before ordering.
  • Most results interpretation for BIG Y will come from volunteer project administrators, including Y-DNA haplogroup administrators.
How do I order the BIG Y product?

Any male Family Tree DNA customer with a complete Y-STR test may order the BIG Y product through their myFTDNA account. To do so:

  1. Sign in to your myFTDNA account.
  2. Click the blue Upgrade button in the upper right corner of the page.
  3. Look for the Father’s Line section, and click the blue price button, which will open the shopping cart for you to complete your order.
I ordered BIG Y to get my result for a specific SNP. Why didn't I get a result for that one SNP?
Due to the exploratory nature of BIG Y, we cannot guarantee results for specific, known SNPs because results will vary from sample to sample. Single specific SNPs are better ordered as such.
What are the technical details of the BIG Y product?
The BIG Y product uses next-generation sequencing to reveal genetic variations across the Y-Chromosome:

  • Targeted Non-recombining Y-DNA sequencing
  • Illumina HiSeq 2000
  • 55X to 80X average coverage
  • Around 11.5 to 12.5 million base-pairs of reliably mapped positions of non-recombining Y-Chromosome
  • Analyzed using Arpeggi genome analysis technology for improved variant calls

All samples are processed in-house using our custom laboratory methods and informatics. Your sample never leaves our company and is never shared with outside vendors.

As of April 3, 2015, we have altered our Big Y BAM files to include only the Y-chromosome data.  Please note that the Big Y is designed to test only Y-chromosome data.  Any other “reads” associated with BAM files prior to April 3, did not undergo quality control and should be assumed unreliable.

How soon will I have my BIG Y results?
We process samples in first come first serve order. If a sample doesn’t pass quality control, we will place it in the next set of results to be processed, as long as we have enough DNA sample. If we require an additional sample, we will send a new test kit and place the new sample in the first set to be processed when it is returned. We typically have an 8 to 10 week average turn around time from date of sample receipt.
Do I need to submit a new sample? How much DNA sample is used?
In many cases, we can use your existing stored DNA sample. If there is not enough sample available, we will send you a new collection kit to the address listed for the kit in myFTDNA. For those who wish to order a test for an individual who cannot provide another sample, please contact customer service for options.
Who will analyze my results for new SNPs?
Sequencing is performed at our state-of-the-art genomics lab and the data is analyzed by our genome informatics team.
Will my positive and negative SNP results from BIG Y be part of my Haplotree page?
Your positive results and relevant negative from the BIG Y test be shown as a results table on a BIG Y page that may be downloaded to any spreadsheet program. We are currently working on integrating the Big Y results with our Haplotree tool on myFTDNA page.
What distinguishes BIG Y from other Y-DNA SNP testing, like Geno 2.0?
Both BIG Y and Geno 2.0 test for thousands of paternal lineage branch markers (SNPs). Unlike Geno 2.0 and related technologies, BIG Y is able to detect new branch markers that are unique to your paternal lineage, surname, or even you.

Geno 2.0 is microarray chip based and programmed for specific SNPs. BIG Y is a next-generation sequence-based test.

How are BIG Y raw results formatted?
The VCF and BED files will be available for download on your results page. For our users’ convenience, we will format raw results in .BAM format. You may request your BAM file by filling out a Contact Us Form request and choosing the Big Y BAM Request category.

Please note that as of April 3, 2015, we have altered our Big Y BAM files to include only the Y-chromosome data.  Please note that the Big Y is designed to test only Y-chromosome data.  Any other “reads” associated with BAM files prior to April 3, did not undergo quality control and should be assumed unreliable.

Will you report Y-STR results from BIG Y testing?
No, we will not. You are welcome to request the .BAM file of your results and use 3rd party tools to get Y-STR results. We are not able to transfer Y-STR results from other companies, however.

Please note that as of April 3, 2015, we have altered our Big Y BAM files to include only the Y-chromosome data.  Please note that the Big Y is designed to test only Y-chromosome data.  Any other “reads” associated with BAM files prior to April 3, did not undergo quality control and should be assumed unreliable.