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How to Order Y-DNA Testing

STR Testing

Y-DNA
Short Tandem Repeat (“STR”) testing is available from
Family Tree DNA, which offers testing to 12 markers, 25 markers, 37 markers, 67 markers, and 111 markers, and from YSEQ, which offers two panels which, together, essentially match Family Tree DNA's 37-marker test. Both Family Tree DNA and YSEQ also offer a la carte STR testing. 

In order to identify matches, it will generally necessary to test to at least 37 markers. (Testing to 12 markers can, however, be sufficient to rule out matches.) Results at 12 markers and 25 markers will identify haplogroups and men who may be distantly related, but the results will be heavily influenced by a single mutation. Testing more markers mitigates the effects of such a random mutation, and makes it easier to identify patterns that are likely to allow the delineation of subclusters of men who are likely closely related.   

Men who are very close to the R1a1a Ashkenazi Levite mode at 67 markers will probably need to upgrade to 111 markers in order to have a better chance to determine whether the men who appear to be their closest matches are closely related to them, or whether the match reflects a relative lack of mutations in the ancestral lines of the matching men and, thus, a more distant match.

Men who do not have many matches at 37 markers because they have a number of mutations (especially on the fast-mutating markers in the range of markers 27 through 37) may find more matches if they upgrade to 67 markers. 

There are significant cohorts of R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites who share distinctive patterns of marker values in the first 12, 25, or 37 markers who have not upgraded their results to 67 or 111 markers, perhaps because they do not have many matches at their current marker levels. Once a number of those men upgrade their results, we expect to find that their results continue to cluster with one another. Because those cohorts generally share distinctive marker values on slow-mutating markers, the odds are good that men with those marker values share a common ancestor who is relatively recent in terms of genetic genealogy (perhaps in the past 500 years or so).

SNP Testing

Y-DNA Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (“SNP”) testing is available from companies including
Family Tree DNA, Full Genomes Corp., ScotlandsDNA, and the National Genographic’s Geno 2.0 project. ISOGG has posted a chart comparing the Y chromosome SNP testing offered by the major testing companies.

Family Tree DNA also offers a la carte testing of SNPs; the list of individual SNPs offered by Family Tree DNA varies. YSEQ allows customers to select any SNP they would like to have tested on an a la carte basis.   

As of April 1, 2015: (1) Family Tree DNA's Big Y Product, which tests about 70% of the SNPs now known to be specific to at least one branch of R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites, had a regular price of $575 US; (2) Full Genomes Corp. offered two levels of full Y-DNA sequencing, (a) the Y Elite test, which is designed to report all reportable Y-DNA SNPs, had a regular price of $750 US, and (b) the Y Prime test, which is designed to report about 90% of all reportable Y-DNA SNPs, had a regular price of $750 US; (3) ScotlandsDNA's Chromo2 Raw Y-DNA, which tests 13 SNPs now believed to characterize all R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites and one SNP characterizing one branch of R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites, had a regular price of $199 US; and (4) the National Genographic's Geno 2.0 project had a regular price of $199 US. Click here to see a table identifying the R1a1a Ashkenazi Levite-specific SNPs tested by each company's Y-DNA product.

Both Family Tree DNA and YSEQ offer a la carte testing, at $39 US and $18.00 US, respectively, some SNPs now believed to characterize all R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites and certain SNPs characterizing one branch of R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites; YSEQ also allows customers to identify SNPs that they wish to order, and customers may ask FTDNA to add SNPs for testing. Click here to see a table identifying the R1a1a Ashkenazi Levite-specific SNPs that Family Tree DNA and YSEQ currently offer for a la carte testing.  

Both Family Tree DNA and YSEQ offer a la carte testing of Y2619, the SNP that is currently believed to define R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites. Testing Y2619 is the most economical way for known Levite men - or known R1a1a men who believe that they might be R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites - to determine whether they are in fact R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites.

YFull offers, for $49 US, analysis of full Y-DNA data from Family Tree DNA's Big Y Product and Full Genomes Corp.'s Y-DNA sequencing. YFull reports novel SNPs, about 450 STRs, and mtDNA results. YFull also places men on its Experimental YTree

Full Genomes Corp. offers, for $49 US, analysis of full Y-DNA data from Family Tree DNA's Big Y Product.


Obtaining a Sample Without a Test Kit

Although it is preferable to use the test kits provided by the testing companies in order to obtain a DNA sample to be tested (for Y-DNA, mtDNA, and/or autosomal DNA), it is possible to secure a sample without a test kit (if, for example, one meets a potential match who agrees at that time to provide a sample for testing. (This procedure will work for testing to be performed by YSEQ; check with other testing companies before sending them samples.)

Testing requires two cotton swabs (such as Q-tips) and two small paper (not nylon) envelopes. The test subject should rub one swab on his or her inner cheek for one minute, then rub the other swab on the other inner cheek for one minute. Next, allow each swab to dry by leaving it in the open air for 20 minutes. Next, place each swab in a separate small paper envelope, seal it, write the test subject's name on each envelope, and mail the small envelopes (in a larger envelope) to the test company. 


Szlomem Hoefler

Szlomem Höfler, b. bef. 1855
Photograph believed to have been taken in Zwiniaczka, Ukraine