World Families Forums - Additional SNP Packs Released

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Arthur C. Barker
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« Reply #50 on: July 06, 2017, 01:28:29 PM »

There are several topics I want to cover in this post, but they are all related.

Family Tree DNA has released its 98th SNP Pack, which is called, somewhat awkwardly, R1b-M343(xM269).  It is designed for those kits that are not in the major sub-branch of R1b, which is R-M269 and includes both of the major clusters of R-P312 and R-U106.  It is not clear to me how someone can know if their kit is not in R1b-M269, except possibly through STR emulation, that is, matching other kits' STR patterns and looking at what they have discovered in terms of their SNPs and then taking a calculated risk that they also are in one of the other branches.  It is on sale now for the typical price of $99.00.

The reality is that the R1b Haplogroup has literally exploded during the past couple of years and now has a massive number of branches from all the new SNPs discovered.  As a result, the new R1b-M343&M269v2 Backbone SNP Pack, which Family Tree DNA notified customers about last week, represents a necessary retreat.  The chip used for SNP Packs can only test for about 160 SNPs.  So, as the Haplotree broadens (and extends), some of the SNPs that were more advanced have to be sacrificed to cover newly discovered SNPs.  This has understandably caused considerable controversy and I am in the process of remapping this R1b Backbone to understand more fully the dimensions of this change.

Another sign of this expansion was the renaming also of two older SNP Packs.  The R1b-L48 and R1b-U106 SNP Packs are now called the R1b-L48xL47xZ8xZ236 and R1b-U106xZ18xZ156xL48 SNP Packs.  The "x" means that the sub-branches following are now excluded from those SNP Packs.  Again, this is because of the huge increase in the number of discovered SNPs and the branches that have now been identified.
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Arthur C. Barker
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« Reply #51 on: July 21, 2017, 01:41:39 PM »

All of the temporary price reductions for new SNP Packs have now expired.  This gives us an opportunity to see what the regular prices will be apparently and there is more variation in those than there has been in the past.

Most SNP Packs still cost $119.00 regularly.  There are five that are special though.

   
E-L674            $230.00
   
I1-M253            $99.00
   
J1-M267v3         $99.00
   
Q-Backbone       $39.00
   
R1b-Backbone    $99.00

The first one is a Middle Eastern-oriented SNP Pack and was apparently costly to research and develop.  The I1, Q and R1b SNP Packs are all Backbone packs, whether they say that or not.  The I1 Pack in particular is quite good in covering the branches of that part of the yDNA Haplogroup I.  The Q Backbone, mostly for the Native American population, contains far fewer SNPs in it, thus the lower cost.  The R1b Backbone is the second Version and I frankly do not like it as well as the first one because they have used the limited number of test slots (160) in ways I do not agree should be done in a Backbone -- to study early phylogenetic equivalents, to reward those who have been involved in genetic genealogy for a long time and done a lot of testing by testing for one or more of their advanced SNPs, and to study extensively a relatively minor branch that had been neglected.  These distort the meaning of a Backbone SNP Pack and have been quite controversial.  The result of "taxing" this Pack for special purposes has been to reduce either the number or depth of the identified SNPs for people who are just beginning to discover their SNP sequence and have decided not to order a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) test.  I am told the J1 Pack is for the owner's family, although I do not know if that is true or not.
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