'Rox2' is a R1b-P312+, DF27+, Z196- (BritainsDNA's S355-), L617-, Z215- (S357-), Z225- (S225-), Z229- (S359-), L194-, L1231-, DF79-, DF81-, DF83-, DF84-, L221-, L86-, L1245- (S1264-), L1246- (S1285-), L881- (or DF27*) yDNA 'cluster'. A yDNA cluster is essentially a group of people sharing a similar yDNA pattern, indicating possible descent from one distant common ancestor. The Y chromosome is passed down virtually unchanged from father to son, although over time small random differences accumulate. This is due to mutations on the Y chromosome that occasionally occur when it is replicated. Scot, Angus Horatio Stewart, kit 142928, was the first Rox2 match to test positive for DF27 back in May 2012. Since then at least eleven more matches have tested DF27+. Those who match the key off-modal Rox2 signature markers and take the SNP test consistently find they are DF27+. Bob Dickinson received Geno 2.0 results in January 2013. No Rox2 relevant SNPs were found with Geno 2.0. (link) The cluster's defining SNPs immediately downstream of R1b-P312/DF27 are still unknown. However, full Y chromosome sequencing has recently become available at https://fullgenomes.com/
Robert Dickinson, kit 134765, has ordered this test (July 2013) and Jim Turner, kit N3036, ordered it in September. Results have been delayed. I ordered BritainsDNA's Chromo2 test in July 2013 and got final results in February 2014. Out of nearly 15000 SNPs tested, Chromo2 confirms a positive result for R1b-P312 and also the subclade immediately downstream, DF27, known as S250 at BritainsDNA. The two largest 'brother' subclades of DF27 are L21 and U152. According to the Chromo2 results I am negative for all currently known SNPs downstream of DF27, like a number of other Chromo2 results. More should hopefully be understood as people begin to analyze and report DF27+ Chromo2, Full Genomes and Big Y results in the coming months. There is a Yahoo Group dedicated to discussing DF27 and subclades here
So far I have counted over one hundred matches with 67 markers, or more, to the Rox2 modal/base haplotype and its 'signature' off-modal markers. Going by these higher resolution STR matches, the cluster has a northern European distribution and is found in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden and northern France. The locations of most earliest known ancestors' places of birth can be approximately split into thirds, one third in Scotland (mainly central/south west/borders), one third in England (mainly north and east) and one third in Ireland (mainly the north). The proportion of tests of British Isles and Irish origin is high in public yDNA databases. Many migrated to North America where the majority of present-day yDNA testers are based. Almost all the above mentioned Rox2 matches are descendants of people who emigrated to North America and now live there. Many parts of rural England, Wales and especially continental Europe are less well covered in the hobbyist databases.
Lots more potential matches exist at 37 marker resolution but their relationship to Rox2 is impossible to confirm at such low resolution with no SNP tests. Various time to most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) estimates suggest the founder might have lived around 1100 - 1200 years ago. See here for how this estimate was arrived at. There are a large number of different surnames (around sixty at 67+ marker resolution) represented in the cluster. Generally, surnames are thought to have only become fixed and hereditary by around the fifteenth century, long after the days of the cluster founder, although some surnames were probably fixed earlier than this.
Rox2's founder seems to have appeared towards the end of the Early Middle Ages. Of course, the Rox2 yDNA lineage existed before the ninth century, but the similarity of many high resolution modern day Rox2 haplotypes suggests someone in the line produced a large number of descendants then, a 'founder effect'. Interestingly, no SNP connections have been identified so far between the ancient original DF27 founder and the relatively recent Rox2 cluster founder, possibly born over 3000 years later. Z196 is a large, early DF27+ subclade and was discovered a few years ago. Consequently, many subclades downstream of Z196 have been identified. Discovering the early 'brothers' of Z196 will be particularly interesting for DF27* (DF27+/Z196- etc.) subclades. The latest more comprehensive yDNA tests should hopefully help locate the missing SNPs downstream of DF27 that earlier tests have so far missed. Once the Rox2 founder's unknown DF27 SNPs are discovered the nature of the cluster will be better defined.
The cluster was identified and named several years ago by Jim Turner, who created the YSearch ID: 3QNM8. I first tested with the National Genographic project in 2005. The term Rox2 has stuck after early discussions on DNA forums but has no particular meaning.
All results used in the TMRCA estimates are a minimum resolution of 67 STR markers. A match is based on a framework of five important R1b-P312 off-modal markers across 67 markers and not just on low genetic distance between the haplotypes. It is not unusual for someone to differ on one of the five Rox2 ancestral 'signature' alleles in the 67 marker resolution test.
Unrelated subclades of R1b-P312 can appear very similar at only 37 marker resolution. Even with 67 markers, a further DF27 SNP test and/or an upgrade to the full 111 FTDNA markers are useful to confirm a match. In fact, an upgrade from 67 to 111 markers is recommended for Rox2 matches. It could happen that an unrelated haplotype might coincidentally match most of the five Rox2 off-modal markers over 67 markers yet mismatch those in the 67-111 panels.
As mentioned, it is difficult to be sure precisely where the 'edges' of the cluster are without Rox2's defining SNP, although as the bar chart here illustrates, plotting Rox2 matches' genetic distances from the modal/base haplotype produces a clear bell curve. This indicates the off-modal STR markers are working well in identifying common descent from a founder, Rox2 looks to be a monophyletic clade.
The Rox2 modal/base haplotype has 6 in 67 off-modal differences from the average for all R1b-P312.
Rox2 has 16 differences over 111 markers from the R1b-P312 modal.
Rox2 is a genetic distance (GD) of 9/93 from Ysearch ID: XQJ7H (R1b-P312 (S116) and all Subclades Modal).
KEY ROX2 OFF-MODAL MARKERS OVER 67 MARKERS: DYS391=10 (P312 modal=11) DYS389ii=30 (29) DYS449=30 (29) DYS607=14 (15) DYS534=14 (15)
The 68-111 marker section in the FTDNA test holds important key off-modal STRs for Rox2, including: 540=13 (12), 589=11 (12), 636=11 (12), 504=16 (17)
An early key, defining STR marker was found to be DYS717=20. It can be ordered individually from FTDNA under 'Advanced Orders' for about $7. It is now included in the 111 marker upgrade. Some who match Rox2 at 67 markers ordered this individual marker. That marker is strongly off-modal, DYS717=20. It is considered a stable, slow mutating marker. For reference, R1b modal is DYS717=19, L21+ 'Scots Modal' is 717=21. Results matching the above extra key markers (and the 67 marker ones) make identification of a Rox2 haplotype quite unambiguous.
Less uniform key off-modal markers in the 68-111 panels: DYS712 <=20 (21), DYS714 >=26 (25), DYS532=14 (13)
C. Corner, Yorkshire.