STRs and SNPs – Are STR Markers Still Useful for Y DNA?

A while again, I wrote an article titled, STRs vs SNPs, Multiple DNA Personalities, which you’ll learn, here. In that article, I defined the distinction between STR and SNP markers.

Y DNA is extraordinarily helpful for males to trace their direct paternal line through the Y chromosome that they inherited from their father. You’ll be able to see how numerous kinds of DNA is inherited, here. By the use of comparability, mitochondrial DNA (pink) is inherited out of your matrilineal line, and autosomal DNA (inexperienced) is inherited from all traces.

The Y chromosome, proven in blue above, is handed from father to son with out mixing with the DNA of the mom, so it’s in essence tracked intact for generations – apart from occasional mutations.

Two sorts of mutations make Y DNA genealogically helpful. They’re STRs, quick tandem repeat markers and SNPs, single nucleotide polymorphisms, pronounced as “snips.” When you’re searching for in depth details about Y DNA, I’ve a Y DNA resource guide here.

How is Y DNA Helpful?

For Estes males, we’ve recognized a number of genetic lineages utilizing these markers that present us the place testers match into the tree of Estes males, which in fact in flip match into the bigger tree of mankind.

In some instances, Y DNA is the one clue individuals have as to their family tree. In different conditions, these assessments affirm and additional refine each the genetic tree and family tree.

Let’s take a look at how these two kinds of Y DNA markers work, individually and collectively at FamilyTreeDNA.

STR Markers, Outcomes and Matching

Y DNA STR outcomes are returned in panels when males take Y DNA assessments.

Each man who takes a Y DNA take a look at at FamilyTreeDNA receives STR outcomes, proven above. What number of marker outcomes he receives depends upon the extent of the take a look at he orders. Up to now, 12, 25, 37, 67 and 111 marker assessments had been out there to buy individually. Males might additionally upgrade to larger degree assessments. 500 and 700 STR marker outcomes are solely out there when the Big Y test has been purchased.

At the moment, males can order the entry level 37 Y DNA test or a 111 marker take a look at individually. Nonetheless, a minimal of 700 STR markers are included within the Large Y-700 take a look at, along with SNP outcomes, which we are going to discuss in a minute.

Matching is Key

Nonetheless, the profit isn’t within the STR markers themselves, however in matching to different males. The markers are simply the instrument used – however the extra info you’ve, the higher the consequence.

STR outcomes are used to match all Y DNA testers towards one another. Matches are proven at every marker degree.

My Estes male cousin has tested at the Big Y 700 degree. He’s matched towards all different males who’ve taken a Y DNA take a look at. He can see who he matches at 12 via 111 markers individually. For every man that he matches, if they’ve taken the Large Y take a look at, he can see how carefully he matches on the 500 or 700 marker degree too.

This Estes match to my Estes cousin, proven above, has examined at 111 markers, however has not taken the Large Y take a look at, so he has no STR markers above 111. He mismatches my cousin with 1 STR marker distinction at 111 markers. That’s fairly shut.

Moreover, we will see that the match’s haplogroup has been estimated as R-M269 based mostly on STR outcomes. For a extra particular haplogroup, both particular person SNP markers should be tested, or an improve to the Large Y-700 take a look at may be ordered. I don’t suggest particular person SNP marker testing anymore as a result of the Large Y offers you a lot extra to your cash by scanning for all Y DNA mutations.

Large Y-700 and SNPs

The one solution to get hold of essentially the most detailed Y DNA haplogroup is to take a Big Y test. The Big Y test scans the Y chromosome to seek for SNP mutations. The Big Y test doesn’t take a look at anyone particular location, like STRs or particular person SNP assessments, however scans for all mutations – presently recognized and beforehand unknown. That’s the sweetness. You don’t have to inform it what to search for. The Large Y take a look at scans and appears for the whole lot helpful.

Greater than 200,000 males within the FamilyTreeDNA database have been SNP examined and greater than 450,000 variants, or mutations, have been present in Large Y assessments. The database grows each single day. Generally DNA matching is a ready recreation, together with your DNA out there for matching 24X7. When your DNA is working for you, you simply by no means know when that important match shall be forthcoming.

The Big Y test retains giving over time, as a result of new variants (mutations) are found and ultimately named as haplogroups. Many new haplogroups are based mostly on what can greatest be known as household line mutations.

Initially, SNP outcomes and haplogroups had been to date up the tree that usually, they weren’t genealogically related, however that’s NOT the case anymore.

At the moment, SNP outcomes from the Big Y-700 test are generally MORE related and reliable than STR outcomes.

Every man receives a really refined private haplogroup, recognized colloquially as their terminal SNP, typically FAR down the tree from the estimated haplogroup supplied with STR testing alone.

After Big Y testing, my cousin is now haplogroup R-ZS3700 as a substitute of R-M269. R-M269 was correct so far as it went, however solely the Big Y test can present this degree of element which is kind of helpful.

The Block Tree Divides Strains for You

The Block Tree is offered for all Large Y testers.

Trying on the Block Tree for my cousin, you possibly can see that he and a number of other different primarily Estes males both share the identical haplogroup or mum or dad/youngster haplogroups.

My cousin in R-ZS3700, whereas R-BY490 is the mum or dad haplogroup of R-ZS3700, and R-BY154784 is a toddler haplogroup of R-ZS3700.

R-M269 is greater than 15 haplogroup branches upstream of my cousin’s R-ZS3700.

You too can simply see that Estes males fall onto completely different “twigs” of the tree, and people twigs are very genealogically important. Every column above is a twig, representing a definite genealogical lineage. Taking the Big Y test separates males into their ancestral branches which may be genealogically related to particular males.

My cousin is R-ZS3700, together with one different man. Two extra males kind R-BY154784, a subgroup of R-ZS3700, which implies they descend from a particular man who descends from Moses Estes. All of those males descend from R-BY490 and all of these males descend from R-BY482, the mum or dad of R-BY490, as proven on the public haplotree, here.

Males who take the Big Y test ALSO obtain separate SNP matching – which means they’ve each STR and SNP matching which supplies testers with two separate instruments to make use of.

In fact, the one males who shall be proven as SNP matches are the lads who’ve taken the Big Y test.

Okay, how is that this info helpful?

Challenge View

Looking at the Estes DNA project, you possibly can see that two males who’ve joined the mission carry haplogroup R-ZS3700. A number of others descend from that very same genealogical line in line with their paper path, and STR matches, however haven’t taken the Large Y-700 take a look at.

Because the mission administrator, I’ve grouped these males by their recognized ancestor, after which, in some instances, I’ve used their terminal SNP to additional group them. For instance, one man, package 491887, doesn’t know which Estes line he descends from, however I can confidently group him in Estes Group 4 based mostly on his haplogroup of R-ZS3700.

I may use STR matching and autosomal matching to additional refine his match group if wanted for the mission. However assured, he’ll want to make use of each of these extra instruments to determine who his Estes ancestors are.

He was completely thrilled to be grouped beneath Moses Estes, as a result of a minimum of now he has one thing to work his paper path backwards in the direction of.

Take a look at Abstract

Males who take STR tests alone, which means 12-111 solely, obtain STR matching and an estimated haplogroup.

Males who take the Large Y take a look at obtain STR outcomes and matches, PLUS essentially the most refined haplogroup doable, many extra STR markers, separate SNP matches and block tree placement.

STR 12-111 Assessments Solely Large Y-700 Take a look at
STR markers via 111 Sure, relying on take a look at degree bought Sure
STR marker matching with different males Sure Sure
STR markers from 112-700 Provided that the tester purchases a Large Y improve Sure
Estimated haplogroup Sure Haplogroup is absolutely examined, not estimated
Examined, most refined haplogroup Not with out an improve to the Large Y-700 take a look at Sure
SNP Matching No Sure
Block Tree No Sure

Family tree

Just lately, somebody requested me the best way to use these instruments individually and collectively. That’s a terrific query.

First, if there’s a information battle, SNP outcomes are far more steady than STRs. STRs mutate far more typically and generally again mutate to the unique worth which in essence appears like a mutation by no means occurred. Moreover, generally STR markers mutate to the identical worth independently, which means that two males share the identical mutation – making it appear like they descend from the identical line – however they don’t.

Earlier than the Big Y tests had been out there, the one Y DNA instruments we had had been STR matches and particular person SNP mutations. On occasion, one of many STR markers would mutate again to the unique worth which triggered me, as a mission administrator, to conclude that males with out that particular line-marker mutation weren’t descended from that line, when actually, that man’s line had skilled a back-mutation.

How do I do know that? When the lads concerned each took the Large Y-700 take a look at, they’ve a lineage defining haplogroup that proved that there had been a back-mutation within the STR information and the lads in query had been actually from the road initially thought.

Thank goodness for the Big Y test.

STRs and SNPs Working in Tandem

Click on any picture to enlarge

Trying on the Estes mission once more, the R-ZS3700 SNP defines the Moses Estes (born 1711) line, a son of the immigrant, Abraham Estes. The boys grouped collectively above are descendants of Moses’s great-grandson. You’ll be able to see that if I had been to make use of STR markers alone, I’d have divided this group into two based mostly on the values of the 2 backside kits. Nonetheless, each family tree and SNP/haplogroups show that certainly, the family tree is correct.

STR markers alone are inconclusive at greatest and doubtlessly misleading if we used solely these markers with out extra info.

Nonetheless, we don’t all the time have the posh of upgrading each man to the Large Y-700 take a look at. Some testers are deceased, some don’t have sufficient DNA left and can’t submit a brand new swab, and a few merely aren’t fascinating.

After we don’t have the extra refined Big Y test, the STR markers and matches are definitely worthwhile.

Moreover, STR markers can generally present lineages WITHIN haplogroups.

For instance, let’s say that within the instance above the 2 males on the backside had been a definite line of males descended from one particular descendant of Moses Estes. If that had been the case, then the STR markers can be very worthwhile throughout the R-ZS3700 haplogroup. Possibly I must reevaluate their family tree and see if there are any new clues out there now that weren’t out there earlier than.

STRs Inside Match Teams

Utilizing a special instance, I can’t group these Estes males any extra carefully based mostly on their family tree or SNP outcomes.

Solely two males on this group have taken a Large Y take a look at – these with haplogroup R-BY490. Sadly, this haplogroup solely confirms that these males descend from the Estes lineage that immigrated to America and that they’re NOT from the Moses Estes line. That’s helpful, however not sufficient.

Two different males have taken particular person SNP assessments, R-DF49 and R-L21 which aren’t helpful on this context. They don’t attain far sufficient down the tree.

We want extra info. Fortuitously, we’ve some.

We now have two clusters of STR markers. We will see that three males have a purple grouping of 24 at marker DYS390 (the header with STR marker names isn’t proven within the display screen shot) and a grouping of males that share a mutation of 12 at marker DYS391.

It’s possible, however not a given, that the lads clustered collectively on the backside with the 12 worth descend from the identical Estes male widespread ancestor. The boys on the prime with a price of each 12 and 24 might belong to that very same cluster, with an extra small cluster of 24 additional delineating their ancestor – OR – the mutation to 12 at location DYS391 might have arisen independently in two separate traces.

It’s additionally doable that back-mutations have occurred in a few of the different males. We simply don’t know.

If I had been to advise these males, I’d strongly recommend that all of them improve to the Large Y 700 with the hope that a minimum of a few of them would have SNPs that outline current or new haplogroups that will positively type their traces.

Then, inside these haplogroup teams, I’d deal with STR groupings, family tree and presumably, autosomal outcomes.

Consider All Three, Individually and Collectively

We now have three separate instruments (plus autosomal) that must be thought-about collectively in addition to individually.

  1. The primary, in fact, is understood family tree. Nonetheless, Y DNA testing works nicely even with out family tree.
  2. Large Y haplogroup info mixed with the block tree ought to be evaluated to outline genetic lineages.
  3. STR groupings must be evaluated individually from and inside haplogroups and permit us so as to add individuals to the SNP-defined teams of testers. Recognized family tree is necessary when utilizing STR markers.

As a bonus, if the lads have additionally taken the Family Finder test, some males might match one another autosomally in addition to Y DNA, if the connection is shut sufficient in time. In fact, Y DNA matches attain a lot additional again in time than autosomal matching as a result of Y DNA isn’t divided or mixed with any DNA from the opposite mum or dad.

Affirm or Refute

Family tree may be both confirmed or refuted by both STR or SNP assessments, independently or collectively.

Trying once more on the public Estes DNA mission, you possibly can see that the primary particular person in that group offered his family tree as descending from the identical Moses Estes line as the opposite males. Nonetheless, the STR mutations clearly present that certainly, his family tree is inaccurate for some cause. He doesn’t match any of the opposite males descended from Moses’s grandson or the remainder of the Estes lineage.

This man’s haplogroup is estimated as R-M269, however had been he to take the Large Y take a look at, he would assuredly not be R-ZS3700. In reality, his STR markers match two males who’ve taken the Big Y-700 test and people two males share a wholly completely different haplogroup, not within the Estes or associated branches in any respect. If this man had been to take the Big Y-700 test, he would possible match that haplogroup.

Each STRs and SNPs can disprove a lineage relationship. As I discussed earlier, of the 2, SNPs are extra dependable. Usually SNPs are required to conclusively divide a gaggle of males descended from a typical ancestor.

STRs might or is probably not helpful, or appropriate, both with out SNP-defined haplogroups, or inside these haplogroups.

Nonetheless, STRs, even alone, are a instrument that shouldn’t be ignored, particularly after we don’t have SNP information or it’s not conclusive.

A Totally different View

To actually take a look at this a special approach, I ready a pedigree kind Y DNA haplogroup spreadsheet for the Estes Project at WikiTree. I’ve divided the data by ancestor and included haplogroups. You’ll be able to view that spreadsheet, here, and you’ll then examine the coloured teams with the Estes DNA Project at FamilyTreeDNA that are grouped by ancestral line.

That is solely a small portion of that pedigree exhibiting the Moses lineage. The picture is massive, however you possibly can see the entire spreadsheet (as of August 2020) here.

Of observe, R-BY490 defines the whole Abraham Estes line (inexperienced above). Inside that line, different SNP lineages have been outlined, together with R-ZS3700 and R-BY154784.

Nonetheless, many traces have extra STR motifs that outline or recommend associations with particular genealogical ancestral traces, as you possibly can see within the Estes FamilyTreeDNA project, here. I’ve included solely a snippet above.

Backside Line

To reply the unique query – sure you possibly can and will use STR and SNP markers each individually and collectively. When you don’t have sufficient SNP information, use STR matches together with family tree info and Household Finder outcomes to enhance what you do have.

The extra Y DNA information you’ve in hand, the higher ready you might be to research and make the most of that info for genealogical functions.

Do you’ve genealogical questions that Y DNA might doubtlessly remedy? What are they and may you discover somebody to check?


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