In 2017, as every year, DNA Day was held on 25 April. At this time, there are offers from all companies for DNA tests. At that time, I took advantage of this offer from FTDNA (Familytreedna.com) and bought a bundle of a Y-DNA37 STR test, the Family Finder and the mtDNA Plus. When I received my results for the Y-DNA test on 28 June 2017, I was quite surprised. The result was I-M170. Although this Y-haplogroup is strongly represented in the Balkans (and therefore also in Greece), this only applies to the subgroup I-P37. According to my Y-STR markers, however, I belong to I-L38, a small subgroup of I-M436 (called I-P214 in FTDNA, the larger subgroup is I-M223), which was only sporadically represented in the Balkans and, according to the findings at the time, originated near the Rhine delta. The nickname of this group was the “Rhinelander haplogroup”, as there was a high frequency of testers along the Rhine, or the “Lichtenstein haplogroup”, as the first ancient DNA discovery was made in the Lichtenstein Cave in the Harz Mountains in Germany.
At the time, I was the first Greek to be tested with this Y-haplogroup. A second tester from Greece was added in autumn 2019. Since then, things have been quiet as far as the group around I-L38 and Greece are concerned.
But now a new “player” is entering the field.
In the middle of last year, FTDNA announced that they had decided to directly report the Y haplogroup using the Y-SNPs tested in the Family Finder. After the first results also came for I-L38, I wrote the article Family Finder Y-DNA Haplogroups, in which I showed what this could mean for our Y-haplogroup.
Now the time has come.
In addition to a known tester from Portugal (already a member of the I-L38 project) and a few unknowns, a tester from Greece has appeared in FTDNA’s Y-DNA haplotree. This is the great advantage of the Y-haplogroup determination of the autosomal test Family Finder. In contrast to 23andme and LivingDNA, where such testers disappear without a trace, with FTDNA they are also shown in the Y-tree. Unfortunately, you can only see them and have no way of contacting them. An internal FTDNA messaging function would be an advantage here.
Which Y-haplogroup does the Greek actually belong to?
Short answer: We won’t find out any time soon, unless he does a Big Y 700 and is added to the right group.
Therefore a bit of speculation:
We know some facts around I-S11321 and the I-S11321 SNPs being tested by Family Finder. I have listed these in detail in the article Family Finder Y-DNA Haplogroups. Here is the relevant selection:
|L38, L39, L40, L65.1,
Grouping based on SNP packs (before Family Finder Y haplogroups)
- In addition to the main group I-S2519, there were only two kits in group I-S11321 that were assigned this grouping by SNP pack. Both did not have the “country of origin” set and appeared to be of unknown origin. One of them, a South American, is already in the I-L38 project and belongs to subgroup I-S11321>Y63727 according to Y-STR markers.
- In group I-S2519, in addition to the main group I-S2497, there is an unknown tester who has not joined the I-L38 project.
- In group I-S2497 there is only one Englishman next to the main group I-L38. This is Cheddar Man, “the oldest Briton” (ancient DNA).
Grouping based on Family Finder Y haplogroups
Five new I-S11321s have been added through the Family Finder Y-haplogroup prediction. The Portuguese already belongs to the I-L38 project and, based on the Y-STR markers, it is known that he belongs to the subgroup I-S11321>Y63727. The same applies to the other two with unknown origin and the American as to the Greek. As there are no Y-STR markers, no further classification can be made without an additional test. These could belong to subgroup S11321, S2519 or S2497.
Now to the speculation, back to the Greek
We have seen that the Greek can belong to three different levels of subgroups. I will now describe which I think is the most likely. So far, only I-S2519 and I-Y63727 are known as subgroups of I-S11321. I-Y63727 only includes testers from the Iberian Peninsula and therefore also from South America. I do not believe that the Greek belongs here.
Subgroup S2519 has another branch, of which some ancient DNA has been found north of the Black Sea. These belong to S2519>FTA13672>FTE66752 and lived there about 7000 years ago. So far there are only two living testers in Kuwait who have been tested with this subgroup. In my opinion, the Greek could belong to this subgroup. This could mean that his Y-line did not take a diversion via northern Europe, as is the case with I-L38 (age about 4700 years), but remained in south-eastern Europe.
For me, the Y-Haplogroup prediction is already a complete success, even if I have not yet been able to successfully contact the tester from Greece. At this point I would like to see an internal messaging system from Familytreedna so that you can contact testers even if they don’t appear to be a match and still comply with the data protection guidelines. I hope that the Greek has also ordered a Big Y700 for himself and not just the Family Finder. That way he won’t be left with the weak prediction S11321, but will be placed correctly on the Y-tree of mankind.