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A named private variant? Does that even make sense?

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  • A named private variant? Does that even make sense?

    I admit that I don't really have a source for this belief, but it has always been my assumption that SNPs receive a name only after they have been discovered in two or more donors. Yet my BigY700 private variants list contains two SNPs, listed by location, which appear on the ISOG wiki as named SNPs within the FT index. The bottom of the wiki page says it hasn't been updated since 4 September 2020, which is exactly a week before my results were finalized.

    What does this mean? That there is somebody else out there also testing positive for these SNPs? And therefore that they're not really private variants? Wouldn't that mean that they're misreported within my results? Or that they're low-quality SNPs that I shouldn't take seriously?

    I'm aware that very rarely a single SNP will appear within multiple phylogenetic branches, so I could theoretically accept that such an SNP could be a private variant to me, even though relative to others on a different branch, it might be a shared variant. But I'm very curious as to why FTDNA would bother to name an SNP which they have not yet discovered in a donor. Could it be an intellectual property thing?

  • #2
    Almost all Private Variants that are thought to be of an acceptable quality are assigned a name. It is something normal.

    I prefer to use to check their name and other information about its. It takes a week or so after you receive your Big Y results, for the names to be updated on

    If you want to know if it is someone else there testing positive for you SNP then you should check ftdna tree, and yfull tree.

    Here is a Facebook group that it is helpful:


    • #3
      Thanks for the heads up. But I have to wonder: Are my other 15 unnamed variants therefore of "unacceptable" quality?


      • #4

        If you have checked on and they are not named then the quality of them are not good.(the region where they are located may not be reliable)

        It is unusual that only two out of 17 to be named.

        Have you checked on if the other Private Variants are named or unnamed?


        • #5
          Ah, cool. I've only looked up a couple so far, but I'm getting the hang of it. Yep, they're named. So it's just that the databases I was looking at weren't up to date.