27 March 2013

Y-DNA: The Garbers are descended from....squid

We've no backbone! Or, so says Family Tree DNA. They're going to give us some.

Last December during a FamilyTree DNA sale my brother humored me by agreeing to take the Y-DNA 37 marker test (patrilineal).

I'd previously taken the full sequence mitochondrial DNA (matrilineal) and the Family Finder (autosomal) tests. I know that Jewish people are relatively rare in the world, and my Family Finder test shows a very interesting pie chart:

Guess my family hasn't valued diversity.

In my brother's Y-DNA test results not only are there no connections at the 37, 25 or 12 marker level, there is no predicted haplogroup. FamilyTree DNA predicts haplogroups by comparing the Y-DNA test results at the 12 marker level to known (backbone) haplogroups. When they cannot predict a haplogroup with certainty, they provide a free Y-HAP-backbone test.

The backbone test is projected to be completed by the end of April. In the mean time, I loaded the results into the Predicting Haplogroup in One Step application provided by Steve Morse

The answer is . . . T.  It will be interesting to see what FTDNA  reports.

Are the Garbers, as represented by my brother's Y-DNA, all that unusual? Maybe. Could be that my brother is just unusual (I knew that!). Or, maybe smaller, more insular ethnic groups (such as Ashkenazi Jewish folk) get hit with this no matches situation a bit more often than others. I haven't found any statistics on how often FTDNA must run a Y-HAP- backbone test (if anyone knows, please share).

This underscores for me the moving target nature of the relationship between current DNA studies and genealogy. The more of us who test, the greater the knowledge of human genetic variability and the greater the accuracy of predictions. 

FTDNA is thinking the same thing. They are running a $39 per 12 marker Y-DNA test sale through the end of March. After that, the price will settle in at $49 - a new low for 12 marker tests.  So, now's a great time to test.

While I'm waiting for the backbone test result, I'm looking over previously overlooked family portraits:

And if any of my male Garber relations would like to test their Y-DNA, let me know. We can only benefit from more participants.


  1. Thank you for commenting, Carlos. I did find out that my paternal haplogroup is T-M70.


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