Has anyone else received a Y-DNA result of DYS426=14 ?

+6 votes
A DYS426 value of 14 seems to be infrequent: has anyone else received this result from a Y-DNA test?


WikiTree profile: Chris Weston
in The Tree House by Chris Weston G2G6 Mach 1 (14.3k points)
retagged by Chris Weston

3 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

Chris, congratulations! Seemingly rare Y-STR repeats can be very useful, genealogically. I say "seemingly" because every year--almost every month, it feels like--we add more and more data to the catalog of information we have about the human genome. One ramification is that some mutations which once seemed exceedingly rare are turning out to be less so as more and more data are added. The great resource that Peter linked to, the collection of Y-STR frequencies compiled by Leo Little, is unfortunately over a decade old. Leo was a fellow Texan and, unfortunately, I met him only once; he passed away in May 2008.

Leo worked with 67 Y-STR markers, state-of-the-art at the time. Now FTDNA tests for up to 500, and we have over one million STRs throughout the genome classified and cataloged. ISOGG has been doing a stellar job the past several months reacting to the flood of newly-identified Y-SNPs coming in thanks to rapid growth in Y-chromosome full sequence testing, and they currently have just over 77,000 haplogroup nodes, or indicative SNPs, in their catalog. ISOGG also notes that the number represents less than 20% of the identified SNPs; the other 310,000 await cataloging and we'll no doubt see more identified before they're entered. Sites like Yfull and Alex Williamson's The Big Tree index more Y-SNPs than does ISOGG right now.

Subsequent to Leo's work, more detail was uncovered about the average mutation rate of DYS426...and it's a slow mover. Ravid-Amir and Rosset (Bioinformatics. 2010 Sep 15; 26(18): i440–i445) worked it out to be a per-generation mutation rate of about 7.5 × 10−5 (± 3.7 × 10−5), so call it a 0.007% chance of a mutation taking place in any given generation. Ain't breakin' any land world speed records.

You didn't tell us anything else about your results, but I glanced at the West surname project at FTDNA at https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/westdna/. Check the numbers in the very first grouping: https://www.familytreedna.com/public/WESTDNA?iframe=yresults. The project admin has the group labeled as Family Group 01, Robert West, 1612, England. A whole bunch of M269 men with DYS426=14.

The only one in the group who shows (publicly) as having taken a SNP test for deep subclades is the one displaying the R-BY27945 haplogroup. That could be consistent with the possibility that the DYS426 STR may have mutated from the more common 12 repeats to 13 repeats first, and then to 14 repeats...all a lot of generations ago.

STR values are never perfect at predicting haplogroups, but they can offer a guesstimate. We learned a few years ago that the combination of DYS393=13 (which all the men in that group are, and I'll bet you are, too) plus DYS426=13 is indicative of L51+ (aka M412) P311-, an intermediary subclade between L23 and L11, found today with greatest density in Central Europe, but found from Iran to England. DYS426=13 isn't the most common value in the world, either.

If you take the long walk down the R haplogroup clades, you'll see: M269 > L23 > L51 > P310 > L151 > P312 > DF27 > Z195 > Z198 > ZS312 > BY3255 > BY27944/BY27945.

A couple of thoughts on moving forward. First, go to the West DNA project and compare your STR values to those in that FG 01 group. If they look the same, or at least mostly the same (which I kinda suspect they will), a lot of the kits that no doubt show as being matches in your FTDNA account are probably there already. If so, join that project. If you are an exact 67-marker match with any of those Wests, I'll hazard you've found a yDNA home to work with.

If you have another paternal-line relative to test, like a sibling or uncle or known male-line 1st cousin, you can encourage him to take a Y-37 test at FTDNA. If money is an issue (though there's a nifty sale on now through the end of August), he--or even you, if you want 3rd-party confirmation--can have DYS426 tested as a single STR at YSEQ (https://yseq.net/) for $9.95 plus shipping. A male relative also showing 14 repeats would rule out any possible testing/interpretation error in your results.

Upping the game to a deep SNP panel or the Big Y-500 test will tell you more, but if you are a solid match to our new BY27945 friend, you can order a single SNP test from FTDNA or YSEQ. Single Y-SNPs are not the best option because it is possible to test positive for one deeper SNP along the hierarchy while otherwise testing negative for the others upstream. But it's a cheaper way of making an educated guess. If you do, I wouldn't go for BY27945 even if it's available...which it probably isn't. I'd be more conservative and look at ZS312 or, a step higher up the ladder still, Z198. Z198 is available from YSEQ as a single for $18.00, and should be available to you as an upgrade at FTDNA while viewing your yDNA haplotree.

If all those particular stars align, it seems a reasonable chance that your surname may have derived as a patronymic, e.g., "son of West" or similar, and that the group of West descendants in the DNA project's FG 01 group represent a shared common paternal ancestor several to many hundreds of years ago. I could be wildly stretching things from you mentioning just one STR marker, but there could be something there to chase.  wink

Edited: to change a lost-significant-digit mistake and correct 0.07% to 0.007%.  :-/

by Edison Williams G2G6 Pilot (310k points)
edited by Edison Williams
Hi Edison,

Thank you so much for your detailed and helpful response!

My Y-STR results are listed in full on my profile page (Weston-987).  Comparing them against the members of the first group of men on the West family page, where they tested on 37 markers or more, I calculate the minimum genetic distance to be 19 over those markers.  The BYZ27945 tester, for example, has a genetic distance of 20 over those markers.  So I take it we don't share a patrilinear ancestor within the genealogical time-frame.

By comparison, the closest match that I've found so far, is a fellow Weston of Sussex descent, with kit number 78479, where I calculate a genetic distance of 6 on 37 STRs.  He, however, has only 12 repeats at DYS426. We believe our patrilineal lines of descent to be separate back to at least the year 1700.  For my part, I'm fairly confident, barring a non-parental event, of being the patrilineal descendant of yeoman farmers living near Mayfield in Sussex who were using the surname Weston during the sixteenth and probably even the fifteenth centuries.

I am fortunate to have two brilliant brothers, who could certainly help with additional testing, but it seems easiest to order a second test for myself at YSEQ, since it's so affordable and, by testing the same subject, will avoid the (admittedly small) chance of a mutation on DYS426 in the most recent generation.



Well, dangit. I'm not usually one to read the first couple of sentences and stop. In this case, I did. I looked at your profile to find your FTDNA kit number to see if your were a member of that West project, and didn't make the Herculean effort of scrolling down one screen to see that you'd listed your STR results.  

Not only that, but I typoed when I converted DYS426's average mutation rate to a percentage. I've edited that, and it should read "a 0.007% chance of a mutation taking place in any given generation," or a decimal rate of 0.00007. Not my best evening. But I'm always willing to correct my mistakes. There was one Tuesday in 1996, though, where I made not a single mistake. I think. Ahem.

To make up for it, Chris, I'll send you a private message with links to a couple of files. The deal is, looking at your STR repeat values, you got more rarity goin' on for you than just DYS426. That one is, by far, the most unusual and slowest moving of the lot, but I think I spot a few other places that may be keeping you from having any close matches. And mind you, that's a very good thing in the long run because you don't have to sort through hundreds of matches that prove to be pointless since you all are spot-on the Atlantic Modal Haplotype. When you get a close match at 37 markers--even at 25--you can pretty much take it to the bank; by "close" I'll call it within 1GD at 25 markers and 2GD at 37. In your case, if you have a zero genetic distance match at 12 markers, I'd be surprised if that person doesn't continue to be a solid match out to 37, 67, and even 111 markers. Which also leads to the other good news: no need for you to go buy an upgrade to the number of STRs you've tested. You'll never need more than 37 unless new matches start flowing in, or unless you just get curious.

Remember when I said that Y-STR values are poor predictors of haplogroups? Well, they are...but at least they can offer some level of prediction. When looking at unscientific, experiential data from over a dozen subclades at R-M269 and below, your own STR repeats are also rare for DYS439, DYS389ii, DYS458, DYS447, DYS460, and DYS570. Other than DYS426, the most indicative of those to me is DYS389ii. It's a modest-moving marker with about a 0.0027 average mutation rate, but all the modal values for those M269 subclades come in at 29 repeats save for one at 28 and one at 30. So, like DYS426, you're two steps off the typical modal. DYS458 and 570 are little faster moving, at about 0.007, and for those and 439, 447, and 460 you're 1 GD from the aggregate modal, so not as big a stretch.

But, yep, I now understand why you have a dearth of yDNA matches. You are pretty rare.

It's a longshot, but FTDNA is simply predicting your haplogroup to be M269 based on your STR values, and that prediction looks like it may be just a bit borderline. At least I'm assuming you haven't done any SNP testing yet. One upgrade option you might want to consider is the FTDNA R1b-M343 & M269 Backbone SNP Pack. It's $99, but gets you over 100 SNPs tested. M269 as a single purchase is $39 at FTDNA or, if you're planning to get a DYS426 confirmation from YSEQ anyway, you can get it there for $18 at the same time. Mind you, doing that probably won't give you a single bit of new information for your genealogy, but it would verify that you really are haplogroup M269, that your STR values are rare and not, in fact, belonging in a different haplogroup.

Remember, rare is good! You can get a T-shirt that says, "My DNA Proves I'm Special."  smiley

Thanks Ed, again, for all this interpretation.  I feel deeply in your debt for your taking the time to share your expertise.  I've ordered a test kit to check the DYS426 result with YSEQ.  I'm not sure that confirmation of the haplogroup gets me very much (though maybe I've misunderstood the point): I can live without knowing that the results are more or less rare for the correct group (and  FTDNA ought to have tested SNPs anyway if they had doubts about their estimate).  The bottom line is that I'll still have no matches.  Mostly I was worried that there might have been a problem with processing my results, leading to the unusual value(s) and I think we'll soon have that covered.  If you still think, though, that it's a good idea, I'm happy to be guided by your advice.



Thanks much, Chris; and, no: you're solid. I ran your Y-STR values through Whit Athey's haplogroup predictor when I replied previously, and it thinks you're nothing but R1b. But you do have a rare haplotype and my tiny little neurons always want more information. Personal problem.  wink

Fingers crossed that some decent matches will show up soon. For the last couple of years the amount of data delivered has gone up and the cost has come down for Y-chromosome full sequencing (well, relatively full). If you start seeing new matches pour in, that type of NextGen test might be very informative later on.

Meanwhile, I think you've done what you can with the yDNA, and my expectation is that YSEQ will confirm the 14 repeats at DYS 426. If you start doing autosomal chromosome mapping and get enough detail to confidently separate matches on your paternal line, gentle nudging of those cousins to consider a Y-STR test might help stimulate the data pool.


I wonder if Chris is eligible for FTDNA's SNP Assurance Program?  It says, 

In order to provide our customers with the highest level of haplogroup confidence, Family Tree DNA provides a SNP Assurance program (beginning with batch 173). If a person’s Y-DNA haplogroup cannot be predicted with 100% confidence, the SNP Assurance Program will test your sample with our Backbone SNP test for FREE. Specifically, if we cannot predict a person’s Y-DNA haplogroup with sufficient confidence that they can join the National Geographic’s Genographic Project, we will automatically perform a Backbone SNP test in order to identify the haplogroup assignment. Backbone tests take about 6-8 weeks from the time they are ordered

When I ran Chris's 37 tested STRs through Whit Athey's haplogroup predictor, I was mildly surprised that it stayed pointed firmly at R1b. I thought the prediction percentages would at least waver some as I entered the STRs. I'd be willing to bet that FTDNA believes they're on solid ground with the M269 prediction.

But, Chris.  Pssst.  If you ever have any doubt, that $18 SNP test at YSEQ might get you a full SNP panel from FTDNA. Maybe.  smiley

And good to see you back, Kerry. Hope you had a great vacay.

Thanks Edison.
The YSEQ test has confirmed DYS426 as 14.

There we are! The 14 repeats are real. Now about that T-shirt that reads: "I'm special. My DNA proves it."  wink

+6 votes
Hello Chris,

Yes having 14 repeats at DYS426 is rare if your Y haplogroup is "R1b".  R1b would include your R-M269.

See https://web.archive.org/web/20140313075017/http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~geneticgenealogy/yfreq.htm

where it shows that no R1b's from 2008 to 2014 had been found to have 14 repeats at locus 426.  2% had 13, 98% had 12, and 1% had 11 (which adds up to 101% so I guess Leo Little was rounding up).

Sincerely, Peter
by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (560k points)
Hmm, perhaps I shouldn't hold my breath for replies from others with the same result!  I wonder if I should try to get my second cousin to test to get an idea of whether it's a laboratory error, although I did find a single thread on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/SNPedia/comments/525g02/dys42614/) discussing two groups of men, one with three members and one with 18 (coincidentally with the surname West), who have the same value, so it clearly does occur.
+2 votes
Go to FTDNA and check projects Crawford and McDonald groups. They each have results which will give you some more results to check. The different groups would be another area to check, all surnames with results posted will have them sorted nicely for you.

Wayne Prather
by Wayne Prather G2G1 (1.9k points)

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