Genetic genealogy is the application of genetics to traditional genealogy. Genetic genealogy involves the use of genealogical DNA testing to determine the level and type of the genetic relationship between individuals.
Edmondo, Nick received a message from Ray Banks suggesting that he get the test for the M406 SNP. Is there any advantage to upgrading Nick's test from 37 to 67 or 111 markers, and would one of those tests include the M406 SNP, or would he need that test also?
Y-STR and Y-SNP are two different kinds of DNA markers (mutations) found in the Y-DNA. For STR markers, a short stretch of DNA is repeated over and over again, and the number of repeats (reported as allele values) vary from one person to another. Some STR markers contain a wide range of repeats, like Y-STR marker DYS385a/b which has a repeat range of 6 to 28. On the other hand, some STR markers like DYS 426 contain a narrow range of repeats, spanning from 10 to 13.
SNP markers are mutations in a single nucleotide (represented as a letter, either A, T, C or G). For example, the ancestral allele for Y-SNP marker M207 is A, and the mutation for this marker is known to be A to G. If result of testing M207 is G, then it is considered a mutation. Unlike Y-STR markers which can have multiple repeats, SNP markers often only exist in 2 forms - the ancestral and the mutated allele.
The major difference between Y-DNA STR and Y-DNA SNP tests is that they examine different kinds of Y-DNA markers. Y-STR markers are useful in tracing recent paternal ancestry and allows the calculation of MRCA (most recent common ancestor) when comparing different individuals to see how long ago they shared a common ancestor. Y-DNA SNP markers are useful in tracing deep ancient paternal ancestry and Y-DNA SNP markers are used to define phylogenetic relationships in the Y-DNA phylogenetic tree. Each Y-DNA haplogroup and subclade in the phylogenetic tree is defined by an unique and specific set of Y-DNA SNP markers.
Thanks, Edmondo. This is a clear and helpful explanation. Since Nick has only one very distant match at the 37 marker level, I think we'll just test the M406 SNP for now to see if we can determine the subgroup he's in.
I used Family Tree DNA's "Family Finder" autosomal test. The test cost $99 US, arrived within about a week and a half of placing the order. I mailed the cheek swab sample on December 26th, FTDNA received the kit on December 30th, and my results appeared yesterday, January 24th. I just wanted to provide you all an idea of the process and turnaround time.
My father is half Sicilian (family from Pozzallo and Siracusa in Ragusa) and half Italian. We only know one branch of his Italian side and they're from a small little village called Avigliano in Potenza. As far as I can tell, my Italian ancestry mostly appears to be southern Italian. My mother is western and northern European ancestrally.
FTDNA said that I am 70% western European (French, Orcadian, and Spanish) and 30% Middle Eastern (Palestinian, Jewish, Iranian, Druze).
As far as I know, no Middle Eastern, but just knowing the history of Italy, Sicily, and the Mediterranean, we can all understand why Italians might have Middle Eastern DNA markers. FTDNA says as much in its FAQ - that if you are Italian, especially southern Italian, you might appear Middle Eastern.
So to delve a bit deeper, I entered my raw DNA data (that you can download from FTDNA or whatever company you use) into a website called Gedmatch.com. Gedmatch.com is a free service that lets you connect to other users with your DNA results from other websites. What's more, Gedmatch provides all sorts of DNA analyses, including various ethnicity finders.
Gedmatch helped a great deal. Its ethnicity calculators are a lot more precise, if you will. Instead of Middle Eastern, I was getting more results for Mediterranean, Italian, Greek, etc., which is what I expected.
Whatever site you use to test your DNA, Gedmatch is a must once you get the results.
Also, I used Ancestry.com years ago for mtDNA haplogroup testing. My result was Haplogroup W. Specifically, W1e. But I inherited that from my mother who isn't of Italian descent. The most distance female ancestor I know on her side (mother's mother's mother, and so on) is a woman named Marinda Sweet. She was primarily of English ancestry.
Readers should be aware that GEDmatch is entirely volunteer run and is experiencing some technical problems right now that I understand from one of the administrators will take awhile (weeks if not months) to resolve. Some people have been able to run analyses, and others, like me, may have uploaded data but are unable to log in. That's been my situation for almost a month now.