Volume 4, Issue 8
December 27, 2005

The World's Only Newsletter Dedicated to Genetic Genealogy

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In This Issue

Editor's Corner

Welcome to this issue of Facts & Genes, the only publication devoted to Genetic Genealogy.

Begun in 2002, Facts & Genes provides valuable information about utilizing Genetic Genealogy testing for your genealogy, and keeps you informed about the latest advancements in the field.

This Holiday Season, Family Tree DNA is providing Gift Certificates for Y DNA Tests and mtDNA tests. These Gift Certificates are an excellent opportunity for new people to get tested or to join family projects, and the limit of two per Surname Project has been removed. Time is running out to take advantage of the savings available, since the Gift Certificates expire on December 31st. For more information, see the article: "In the News: Family Tree DNA Announcements".

Happy Holidays from all of us!

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Send your comments, suggestions, tips, and feedback to: editor@FamilyTreeDNA.com. We hope you enjoy this issue.

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In the News: Family Tree DNA Announcements

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce milestones achieved, Holiday Gift Certificates, a new product, and new features.

1. The following milestones have been achieved:

Family Tree DNA now has over 50,000 Y-DNA records and 15,000 mtDNA records in our database. We also have over 2,600 Surname Projects, which include over 28,000 surnames.

Having at least 4 times the combined data of all other databases of this kind in the world, the size of the database is an important feature to look at when choosing the company to test with, as the larger the database you are compared with, the richer the information you will be obtaining, whether it's about matches or about your ancestral origins.

2. Holiday Gift Certificates from Family Tree DNA

In recognition and appreciation of our Group Administrators and the Genetic Genealogy community, we are offering Gift Certificates to be used by individuals that want to get tested. Gift Certificates are for $30 and are available for participants who order a new test kit for a Y DNA test for 25 or 37 markers. A $15.00 Gift Certificate is available to participants who order a new test kit for an mtDNA test.

To claim your Gift Certificate from Family Tree DNA, click on the links below:

For a $30.00 Y DNA Gift Certificate:

For a $15.00 mtDNA Gift Certificate:

Then order your test kit through the appropriate Surname Project. If you don't know if a Surname Project exists for your surname, click on the link below to search our database of Surname Projects:


Then place your order as a member of the Surname Project.

These Gift Certificates can be used to order a Y DNA test for 25 or 37 markers, or an mtDNA test. Gift Certificates are not valid for Y DNA 12 marker orders, upgrades, or add-ons.

The Gift Certificates expire on December 31, 2005. The test kits must be ordered and paid by December 31, 2005.

Take advantage of this opportunity, and claim a Gift Certificate. The Gift Certificates can be used to order the test you have been thinking of taking, to buy a gift for that needed participant, or to give a gift of discovery this Holiday Season.

To redeem your Gift Certificate:

* When paying by credit card, after you place your order, contact Juliew@familytreeDNA.com and provide the kit number, and a refund of the value of the Gift Certificate will be posted to the credit card used in the purchase.

* When paying by the invoice method, after you place your order, contact Juliew@familytreeDNA.com and provide the kit number. We must receive your payment by December 31, 2005, or the Gift Certificate will expire.

3. New Product: Deep Clade Panel SNP Tests

Family Tree DNA is pleased to announce a new product, Deep Clade Panel SNP tests. Our tests are the most comprehensive panel available on the market.

Our Deep Clade Panel tests are designed for genealogists, and look at every twig on the Y DNA tree to correctly identify your branches on the Y DNA tree. This approach insures that your investment in this test is maximized.

The first Deep Clade Panels available are for Haplogroups E3b, G, I, J, Q, and R1a and R2 (India sub-continent), and further tests will be announced in 2006.

For an explanation of these tests, and further information, please see the two articles below in this newsletter, titled:

Genetic Genealogy: Haplogroups
Y DNA: SNPs Made Simple

4. Join Options Increased

On your Personal Page you can now use the Join button to join more than two DNA Projects, as defined below. For more information about the DNA Projects available, see the article below titled "Genetic Genealogy: Projects."

Males can join:

* Up to 2 Surname Projects that research individuals that have the same surname or a variant. Joining a Surname Project could be very helpful to verify relationships with individuals that share a similar surname.

* One Y-DNA Geographical Project to verify a possible point of origin for the paternal line.

* One Y-DNA Haplogroup Project, according to the resulting Y-DNA Haplogroup.

Females and Males can join:

* One mtDNA Lineage Project that research individuals that have or suspect having the same maternal line.

* One mtDNA Geographical Project to verify a possible point of origin for the maternal line.

* One mtDNA Haplogroup Project, according to the resulting mtDNA Haplogroup.

If you are thinking of starting a Surname Project, now is the time to get started. Our educational resources, combined with our email and telephone consultation, help you each step of the way. Being confused or overwhelmed will quickly pass, and be replaced with the excitement of new discoveries.

Anyone with experience with family history research can start a Surname Project. We supply the tools and guidance so your Surname Project is successful.

There are just two steps to take to become a Group Administrator of a Surname Project:

1. Find out if a Surname Project exists for your surname. Click on the link below to search our database of Surname Projects:


2. If a Surname Project has not been established for your surname, then use the email contact below to establish a Surname Project, or to discuss establishing a Surname Project:
bcg@familytreeDNA.com for Bennett Greenspan

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Genetic Genealogy: Projects

The following types of DNA Projects are available at Family Tree DNA.

Surname Projects
These projects are for Y DNA, which is only found in males. A Y DNA test result would tell you about your father, his father, and back in time, following the direct male line.

A Surname Project is established for a surname and variants. These projects provide valuable information to assist you with your genealogy research, and will determine which family trees are related. If you are female, you need to find a male, such as a brother or father, to participate.

Often Surname Projects include mtDNA testing, where a male or female tests to discover information about their direct female ancestor.

mtDNA Lineage Project
These projects research individuals that have or suspect having the same maternal line.

Geographical Projects
These projects are established to search for a common origin. These projects can be for Y DNA, mtDNA, or both.

Haplogroup Projects
These projects have been established for a haplogroup, either Y DNA or mtDNA, to verify patterns and to develop further knowledge about the haplogroup and associated migrations.

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Genetic Genealogy: Haplogroups

When you take a Y DNA test for 12, 25, or 37 markers, your test result is called a haplotype. Different, although similar, haplotypes descend from a common yet potentially distant ancestor and both of you descend from a common haplogroup.

Haplogroups represent the branches of the tree of Homo Sapiens. Every male in the world can be located on one of the branches of the tree. The branch of the tree is identified by a SNP test, which is pronounced as "snip."

The branches of the tree of Homo Sapiens are labeled A through R.

If you have taken a Y DNA test, there is a tab on your Personal Page called "Haplogroup." When you click on this tab, the proprietary system at Family Tree DNA will predict your haplogroup, based on your 12 marker haplotype. This prediction algorithm compares your 12 marker Y DNA result with our database of Y DNA 12 marker results and in over 90% of the cases makes a prediction.

On your Haplogroup page your 12 marker matches with the haplogroup database are shown, along with your prediction. At the bottom of the page is a description of your haplogroup.

If exact and close matches on the Haplogroup page all show the same haplogroup, then your prediction is solid, and testing is not required to confirm your haplogroup. If more than one haplogroup is shown for these matches, then your haplogroup prediction is conflicting, and a test Y-backbone test is needed to confirm your haplogroup.

Your haplogroup prediction can be confirmed by a SNP test. An individual SNP test looks at a specific location on the Y chromosome to determine if a mutation occurred. A haplogroup is defined by a mutation that occurred some thousands of years ago. These mutations are called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, or SNPs.

The major branches of the Y-DNA tree of Homo Sapiens are labeled A through R. These major branches have additional branches, where a haplogroup is broken down into sub-haplogroups. For example, perhaps you belong to haplogroup J. Haplogroup J is broken down into J1, J2, and J*. The system for identifying the branches of the Y DNA tree alternates letters and numbers. An asterisk is used to denote those who do not fit a defined branch. If you belong to haplogroup J, and are not J1 or J2, then you belong to J*.

Some haplogroups have more branches and twigs than other haplogroups. The level of break down of a haplogroup is based on the SNPs found and published upon by (usually) some team of molecular biologists and population geneticists.

Anthropologists follow SNPs to determine ancient migratory patterns and deep ancestral dating, such as when Europe was settled.

You can see a graphic representation of a current Y DNA tree at the following link:

Y-chromosome Phylogenetic Tree

Your haplogroup is defined by a mutation that occurred thousands of years ago, and was passed down to subsequent generations. Additional mutations also define the branches on the tree, the sub-Haplogroups. SNPs are tested to identify your sub-branches too.

The SNP test will confirm or deny the predicted haplogroup. If it occurs that the predicted Haplogroup is not confirmed, we will continue to test your sample until a SNP confirmation is found for your sample.

It is important to remember that only one SNP test is necessary for a group of persons in a Surname Project who match. For those who take a SNP test to confirm their haplogroup, the results of your test also apply to the others in your Surname Project who are a match or close match. Therefore, only one SNP test needs to be taken by a member of a group whose results match or are a close match. There are situations when a SNP test is not necessary: when the results of a haplogroup search predict a single haplogroup.

For more information about haplogroups, see the following articles:

Understanding Your Genetic History: Haplogroups

Understanding Your Results: Haplogroups

Understanding Your Results: Y DNA Haplogroup

For an understanding of your deep ancestry and the SNPs that have occurred as humans have populated the earth, consider the book or video "The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey" by Spencer Wells, listed on our resource page:

Video and Books we recommend

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Y DNA: SNPs Made Simple

There are two types of SNP tests:

- Backbone
- Deep Haplogroup

The Backbone SNP tests looks at all branches of the tree from A to R to determine which haplogroup, or major branch of the tree, a male belongs to. For more information on haplogroups, see the article above, titled: "Genetic Genealogy: Haplogroups."

Once your general haplogroup is known, you can then use Deep Haplogroup test to identify the other SNP mutations that have occurred in your specific line…placing you on your twig of the Y DNA tree. This can resolve your deeper (deep!) ancestry to within a tighter time frame better than 20,000-40,000 years commonly associated with the major branches of the tree.

The SNPs we offer have been culled from the scientific literature. These SNPs have been verified to have occurred at some frequency in the male population. Perhaps most importantly tests have been performed to verify that these SNPs do not occur in other populations, therefore identifying a unique branch on the Y DNA tree!

This is an evolving science and new discoveries are being made regularly. Therefore we will provide you both the name of the SNP tested and the present corresponding nomencaltute i.e. test: M172 + (positive) current corresponding Y tree: J2. We’ll also tell you which SNPs you were not, or – (negative), for all branches in the panel of tests run on your specific sample.

The process of verifying the SNP involved testing a large population of males and determining a corresponding time frame which identifies the age of the different sub-groups of the branch.

Family Tree DNA, which introduced the concept of haplogroups to the genetic genealogy community in 2003, provides the most comprehensive Deep Haplogroup Panel available in the world today. The Deep Haplogroup test is available for Haplogroups E3b, G, I, J, Q, and R1a and R2 (India sub-continent), and further tests will be announced in 2006.

The value of a Deep Haplogroup test is to identify your twig on the Y DNA tree and then to use this information along with the reams of scientific literature to determine the geographic locations, and potentially the migration path for your lineage. As research progresses, more geographical specificity associated with SNPs will emerge.

To view all of the Deep Haplogroup branches tested by Family Tree DNA please see:


To order a Deep Haplogroup test log in to your personal page and click the Haplogroup tab to see if you may order the test!

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Recruiting Participants: Keep It Simple

To effectively recruit participants, be sure to keep your presentation simple. Technical terms are not required, and will often intimidate a potential participant.

A simple, non-technical explanation of the test will go a long way to overcome fears and concerns, and result in a higher recruiting rate.

A potential participant does not need a biology education or a discourse on haplogroups to make a decision to participate. If extensive technical information is provided, this will often result in overwhelming the potential participant, and provides them with reasons to delay making a decision, or provides an opportunity for them to formulate objections.

Whether recruiting with an email, letter, conversation, or web site, a simple presentation will result in more participants.

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Case Studies in Genetic Genealogy

In each issue of the Newsletter, we present a situation which you may encounter as you utilize Genetic Genealogy testing for your family history research, followed by our recommendation.

Case Study

I have a brother or a father who could participate. Would one be better than the other?


The best approach is to select your father. Your brother would represent another generation, and this is another opportunity for a mutation to occur.

Mutations are random events, and it cannot be predicted when a mutation would occur. All mutations occur between a father and son. Although mutations are infrequent, and most likely your brother does not have a mutation, it is possible that he does. Therefore, testing your father would increase the probability of an exact match with related individuals.

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Next Issue

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of Facts & Genes. Please feel free to contact the editor with your comments, feedback, questions to be addressed, as well as suggestions for future articles. If you are a Group Administrator and can help others with tips or suggestions, please contact: editor@FamilyTreeDNA.com

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