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Y Haplogroups

This page is about the haplogroups of members of the Taylor Family Genes Project.

For many members, the nearest thing to a "match" that we have is their haplogroup classification. When a STR match is found, it will certainly be within the same haplogroup. Therefore, we present the genealogically-relevant information for these members by the haplogroup

Y Haplogroup Tree

Tree of Haplogroups

This schematic diagram shows the currently-accepted relationship of macro-haplogroups to each other. A is the foundation human Y chromosome haplogroup; all others spring from it.

Some of the haplogroups displayed have disappeared and are not found in the present human population. Their past existence has been deduced by genetic research.



Distribution by Country


Haplogroups in the Project

The project contains several haplogroups, nine of the major haplogroups at present. They include

General Genetic Families

R1b is the most common haplogroup in the project (and the British Isles); about 70% of project members are R1b, and, more specifically, R1b1a2 (R-M269). Next most common is !1, about 10%.

What is a haplogroup?

A haplogroup is a broad category of Y-DNA chromosomes, characterized by certain mutations which have been identified and catalogued through scientific research. A haplogroup includes many, many people; it does not (with the present state of technology) typically define a specific paternal lineage. A few "private" SNPs have been found which belong only to  particular lineages.

Haplogroup naming patterns

Two systems are in common use for haplogroup names: phylogenetic naming and shorthand naming,

Phylogenetic naming

Haplogroup names follow a system of progressively finer classification. These are known as "phylogenetic names" because they indicate specific branches and their locations on the Y-chromosome tree::

As the haplogroup name gets longer, it refers to a smaller and more precisely-described group of people.

An advantage of phylogenetic naming is that the place on the Y-tree is immediately apparent. A disadvantage is that the defining SNP is not immediately apparent.

Shorthand naming (by SNP):

In the shorthand system, haplogroup names are composed of the letter for the major group, a dash and the name of the defining SNP, pronounced "snip" -- for example, "R1b1a2" is also "R-M269"and "R1b1a2a1a" is also "R-U106".

Sub-clades (sub-divisions) of the haplogroups may also be designated by the specific mutation associated with that sub-clade, in order to shorten the name. These mutations are known as SNPs for single-nucleotide polymorphisms.

For more on SNPs, see this page.

Advantages of this system are (1) that the name for a subclade on far downstream branch is much shorter and (2) that the presence of the subclade-defining SNP is immediately apparent.

A disadvantage is that, unless one is thoroughly familiar with the the SNPs associated with a particular haplogroup, the phylogenetic name and the location on the tree are not immediately apparent.

Other Haplogroup Facts

A common misconception is that adding designators to the end of the phylogenetic haplogroup name changes the first part of the designation. It does not; it simply refines the definition to a more precise one. R1b1b2a1b5 still falls within the larger R1b1 haplogroup.

Haplogroup designations can and do change because of advances in the science. Greater understanding leads to correcting old mistakes. For example, the R1b haplogroup recently underwent a major re-organization of its sub-clades, due to new discoveries of mutations. What was once R1b1b1 is now R1b1a2.

The most up-to-date version of the Y-chromosome phylogenetic tree is maintained by ISOGG and revised annually; the 2013 version is here. The most authoritative version is maintained by the Y-Chromosome Consortium (YCC); the most current YCC version is for 2010 and can be found here.

What is a Subclade?

A subclade is a subdivision of a haplogroup. Subclades refine the haplogroup into finer and finer classifications. Only a few subclades (as defined by their SNPs) have been found to be "private" -- that is, to relate to specific paternal lineages.

Predicting Subclades from STR Markers

Major haplogroups can usually be predicted from STR marker values with a high degree of reliability; finer classification usually requires SNP testing. Sometimes -- though not as reliably -- it may be possible to make an informed guess as to your subclade without SNP testing.

Genealogical Meaning of Haplogroups

Unfortunately, a haplogroup  designation doesn't say much about our more recent ancestors -- those of less than 1,000 years ago. Nor, for that matter, do most subclade determinations They are more telling about our deep ancestry and ancient origins. An excellent map showing haplogroup locations in ancient times is at Eupedia.

However, a difference in haplogroups does mean that two men can not have shared a direct paternal ancestor within the period for which it's usually possible to identify ancestors by names, dates and places.

Haplogroup and subclade differences are exclusionary information. They rule out a common direct paternal ancestor.
A similarity of haplogroups does not rule in a common ancestor, nor do all but a very few subclades.

Prioritizing matches

This "rule-out" property can be used to distinguish between STR matches and prioritize some over others.

Some men (typically, R-M269) have very common haplotypes and therefore many matches -- too many to be practical for follow-up. This isn't necessarily because they all share a common recent ancestor; it may be due to a phenomenon known as "convergent evolution"; the haplotypes have independently mutated from different origins into a common form.

Say, for example, a man with 90 close matches at 67 markers tests SNPs to find that he falls within the L21 subclade of P312. He can then eliminate from consideration anyone who has tested negative for L21 or positive for U106 or any SNP downstream of U106.

Y-SNP Testing

Taylor Family Genes recommends SNP testing under certain conditions:

How to Test Y-SNPs

SNP testing is presently undergoing a resurgence and dramatic change. For the most current information, visit the ISOGG page on this subject.

A quick review of the several avenues available:

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Revised: 07 Feb 2014