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Why STR test before BigY?

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  • Why STR test before BigY?

    I'm still not sure why an STR test is required before taking a BigY test? What do the two types of tests have to do with one another? If perhaps it is because the BigY doesn't test lots of the basic low and mid-level SNPs and STRs are what FTDNA uses to get as a low-level starting point for a Y haplogroup then fine, I suppose. But in that case, then why do those who already have a detailed Y results from say Geno 2.0 NG transfers still need an STR test first?

  • #2
    I could be wrong, but I believe it has to do with matching, without STRs, matching can not be done.

    Have not done Big Y yet, so maybe a project admin or someone who has done Big Y can clarify or correct me...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by prairielad View Post
      I could be wrong, but I believe it has to do with matching, without STRs, matching can not be done.

      Have not done Big Y yet, so maybe a project admin or someone who has done Big Y can clarify or correct me...
      Ah, for matching I'm sure that might help/be necessary even.

      That brings up a new question though. Why does Big Y have to also include a matching service? Why not let people take it and not get the matching service until or if they ever add on an STR test?

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      • #4
        I don't think it should be necessary, but Family Tree DNA wants at least a 12 marker test done. I suspect that the predicted haplogroup might impact how they handle the Big Y test. That is the only sensible link I can see.

        Timothy Peterman

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        • #5
          I sent FTDNA a question on this once. Their response was "We simply need some kind of Y-STR test completed to verify that your y chromosome is appropriate for a BigY test." That doesn't make much sense since any Y chromosome should be appropriate. I don't think there is any way to get them to change their mind on this though.

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          • #6
            I think that there are several reasons for requiring YSTR tests prior to any YSNP tests:

            1) FTDNA's original YDNA matching system is based on YSTR tests. So their systems are setup originally in that manner. Walk the Y and individual YSNP testing came next and were very old YSNPs where matching was not very relevant. My terminal YSNP was R-M269 for some time, followed by R-L21 and then eventually R-L226 several years ago (found via Walk the Y). So having any kind of matching system based on YSNPs that were 1,500 to 2,500 years old really did not make sense.

            2) Until recently (NGS testing), YSNPs were considered laying the groundwork for future research and for confirming YSNPs and YSTR signatures. Now, with substantial NGS testing, only in the last 12 months have YSNP databases grown in scope enough where YSNP matching could be feasible.

            3) Walk the Y and individual YSNP testing was considered "advanced YDNA" testing. So when Big Y came along, it fell into the same category. For the first year of the Big Y, FTDNA's haplotree remained extremely out of date - but this has only radically improved in the last year.

            4) To create a second new matching system (with very incomplete data) would be a major IT cost which would require higher cost for Big Y testing - allowing other companies without such costs to be more competitive. Also, the genetic genealogy community never wants higher cost IT costs to drive up testing costs. So this attitude produces a significant lack of tools - including YSNP matching.

            5) FTDNA (and leading admins) still struggle with validating the YSNP haplotree. FTDNA has laid the foundation only recently with a vastly improved YSNP haplotree. The rate of discovery and analysis required would make any YSNP matching system a major IT challenge and would require increased costs in testing. Also, FTDNA does not allow relevant YSNP information from YSEQ and FGC to be uploaded, so any matching system would have major omissions with their current approach.

            6) FTDNA will soon roll out a new version of the Big Y matching tool. This code is only available individuals and admins do not have access to their members Big Y data making admin support very difficult. Again, since our genetic genealogy community does not value IT costs to result in higher testing costs - you will not get major improvements that you desire (other than the very slow roll out of a step wise improvements that do not cost a lot of IT investment).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Armando View Post
              I sent FTDNA a question on this once. Their response was "We simply need some kind of Y-STR test completed to verify that your y chromosome is appropriate for a BigY test." That doesn't make much sense since any Y chromosome should be appropriate. I don't think there is any way to get them to change their mind on this though.
              Oh! This could be their way of saying that they want to make sure the tester is male before processing a Big Y test. I have heard that some women have accidentally taken a Y-DNA test. Imagine taking a Big Y only to have no results. FTDNA might have required at least a Y12 to not have to deal with angered customers who spent $500+ on a test for nothing.

              To add to that, it is an advanced test after all. How many times have we not seen someone frustrated with an STR test results. If they had taken the Big Y, they would have spent more money on something they don't understand. So I think FTDNA is simply adding that step to ensure only those that likely understand its purpose buy it. Less chances of accidentally ordering it for newbies.

              By the way, nothing in the Big Y Matching indicates it is connected to anything related to STR data. So I don't think Big Y matches take STRs into account at all.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by The_Contemplator View Post
                Oh! This could be their way of saying that they want to make sure the tester is male before processing a Big Y test.
                Possibly. There should be an override for people with an FF test and only one X Chromosome. So at least those people don’t have to pay the extra money. It doesn’t affect me though since in most cases I personally feel males should be getting a Y-DNA67 test anyway. Just my opinion and not trying to convince anyone of this though.


                Originally posted by The_Contemplator View Post
                To add to that, it is an advanced test after all. How many times have we not seen someone frustrated with an STR test results. If they had taken the Big Y, they would have spent more money on something they don't understand. So I think FTDNA is simply adding that step to ensure only those that likely understand its purpose buy it. Less chances of accidentally ordering it for newbies.
                I don’t think frustrated Y-STR customers plays into the decision.


                Originally posted by The_Contemplator View Post
                By the way, nothing in the Big Y Matching indicates it is connected to anything related to STR data.
                STRs have nothing to do with BigY. There is no question about that.

                Originally posted by The_Contemplator View Post
                So I don't think Big Y matches take STRs into account at all.
                They don’t. No question.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Armando View Post
                  STRs have nothing to do with BigY. There is no question about that.
                  Big-Y results does include STRs. There is no question about that. FTDNA may not report those values, but YFull does.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jim Barrett View Post
                    Big-Y results does include STRs. There is no question about that.
                    Yes, I knew that. My statement was about a prior STR test affecting BigY testing or BigY matching or used in anyway to influence BigY in any way. They don’t. No question. So that is not an excuse for FTDNA to force customers to get an STR test as a prerequisite for the BigY test.

                    Originally posted by Jim Barrett View Post
                    FTDNA may not report those values, but YFull does.
                    Yes, I knew that. They can’t be transferred to FTDNA though. That’s going quite a bit off-topic now though. The OP wanted to know why someone has to get an STR test before being allowed to get a BigY test.

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