TMRCA (Time To Most Recent Common Ancestor) estimates suggest the Rox2 subclade founder (a man) lived around 1250 years ago, + or - a generous margin of error. His yDNA descendants are fairly numerous and widespread within the world's population today. Prior to relatively recent emigration to worldwide colonies, Rox2 appears to have had a Northern European geographical distribution, the most southerly match being from Northern France so far.
Rox2 SNPs: R1b-P312>DF27>ZZ12>ZZ19>Z34609>Z2571>FGC11380>(FGC11397 and a few dozen phylogenetic equivalents). YFull name: R-Y8397
A yDNA cluster is essentially a group of present-day men who share similar Y-STR results - this indicates possible descent from the same earlier male common ancestor. SNP testing can then confirm a STR cluster match to be a member of a SNP defined subclade (a related group). 'Rox2' is the nickname for this particular cluster/subclade and its off-modal signature STR pattern was first noticed in 2005. The Y chromosome is passed down virtually unchanged to male descendants of a common ancestor - from father to son - although small random differences accumulate over time. This is due to mutations/mistakes on the Y chromosome that occasionally occur when it is replicated. Those mutations form distinct patterns that are unique within the general population. The pattern can be used to identify potential matches and also estimate age. The more recent and prolific the common ancestor, the more similar and numerous the haplotypes are in today's population. Rox2 can be clearly identified using STR markers alone (see below under STR IDENTIFICATION). Those who closely match the key off-modal Rox2 'signature' markers over 111 markers and take SNP tests consistently find they are also positive for FGC11397, FGC11369 or any other currently equivalent Rox2 defining SNPs when they test for them. The subclade formed centuries before the fixing of surnames and as a consequence there are many different surnames represented in the subclade today.
DF27, the deep c. 5000 year old subclade Rox2 descends from, is one of the largest and most widespread of the ancient R1b-P312 subclades but is the most difficult to identify, partly due to where DF27 is located on the Y chromosome. The technology used in chip-based SNP tests can't identify DF27. However, 'NGS' (Next Generation Sequencing) testing does highlight the downstream SNPs and understanding is improving with the sharing of results on phylogenetic trees. After more extensive post-2014 DF27 NGS testing (using FGC or FTDNA's BigY) and analysis by Alex Williamson, it is now known there are two ancient groups just below DF27. They are ZZ12 and a smaller subclade that had already been known for several years, Z195/Z196.
Rox2 is DF27>ZZ12+. Its ancestral branch below ZZ12 is ZZ19/ZZ20. Branches under ZZ19 are widespread and have present-day origins all across Europe, including in Sweden, Finland, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Armenia, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Britain and Ireland. Below ZZ19 is Z34609, see The Big Tree. Z34609 has two currently known 'sons', Z2571 and 7811558 C>T (plus six more equivalent SNPs). These ancient 'top layer' subclades were in existence at least around 4400-ish years ago according to YFull's age estimates. Some remain Z34609*, indicating more subclades await discovery below Z34609.
'Son' of Z34609, Z2571, has two ancient parallel subclades downstream of it, they are FGC11380 (YFull now has a mini-phylogenetically equivalent block here, R-Y8841: FGC11385 * FGC11384 * FGC11380/Y8841) and CTS11567. Rox2/FGC11397 is downstream of FGC11380/Y8841. I (kit N3461) got a FGC11397+ (Rox2) result from YSEQ in June 2014, as have several other STR matches who have since tested single SNPs with either YSEQ or FTDNA. See this diagram.
Z2571 (23076115, C>G) A deep DF27 SNP. ISOGG: R1b1a2a1a2a6.
FGC11397 (7332619 G>A) 'Rox2'. A currently phylogenetically equivalent SNP, one of a block of dozens of SNPs below FGC11380/Y8842 that define the subclade. (Available to test at YSEQ.net and FTDNA).
TESTING FOR ROX2
The best and simplest yDNA testing approach to clearly identify a Rox2 match is to get a NGS SNP test (eg. BigY, YSEQ or FGC) and then upload those NGS SNP results to a phylogenetic tree (Big Tree, YFull). The FGC NGS test picks up more Rox2 SNPs than BigY. YSEQ's NGS test has more coverage than BigY and includes mtDNA and autosomal DNA but is more expensive. Analysis on the Big Tree is free and arranges your results into a more easily understandable 'family tree' format. Additionally, there are a large number of existing Rox2 111 STR marker matches, so an upgrade to the full 111 markers at FTDNA is very useful. A match with the several off-modal markers over 111 markers is as clear an identification of Rox2 as a single FGC11397/FGC11369 etc. SNP test.
NGS results, when added to a phylogenetic tree, like The Big Tree or YFull's tree, can highlight which specific branch of Rox2 you belong to, if currently known. If your Rox2 branch is not currently known, a branch will form when a more close match subsequently uploads their NGS results to the tree in the future. However, little will be learned by a living y relative, or a known cousin (from one's own family tree), taking a BigY NGS test, the results may be identical to yours - BigY identifies on average one new SNP every 3-4 generations for Rox2. Progress can only be made if new results are shared, answers come from comparing results with others on phylogenetic trees. There are occasional sales at FTDNA - there is often a sale at Christmas on BigY or STR upgrade tests.
For those more familiar with DNA genealogy, the subclade's many SNPs can be tested for individually in a targeted way (e.g. YSEQ) - or a handful (not all) can be tested in specific DF27 SNP 'packs'. If there are several closely related NGS kits, a family SNP pack is possible. SNP packs are relatively cheap but much less informative than NGS tests (see below). FTDNA 'backbone' R1b-M343 and R-P312 SNP packs released in 2015 do not include any Rox2 identifying SNPs and should be avoided if you know you match Rox2. Fortunately, the Rox2 off-modal STR 'signature' pattern of 11 key markers is reliable for identifying a Rox2 match over 111 markers. A single FGC11397 (or equivalent) test can provide SNP confirmation of a match to Rox2 if needed. The next big testing development will be WGS (Whole Genome Sequencing).
Turner (FTDNA kit N3036, FGC kit number GYBGZ) received FGC results on 3rd April 2014 (link). Many SNPs were seen to be shared with an anonymous kit in the 1000 Genomes project, HG00107. HG00107 has Orkney ancestry and matches the Rox2 off-modal STR pattern. Dickinson (FTDNA kit 134765, FGC kit WBAFF, Cumbria) received FGC results on 12th April 2014 He and Turner share dozens of SNPs in a phylogenetically equivalent block below DF27>Z2571. FTDNA's BigY appears to read under half of the 45-ish Rox2 equivalent SNP block present in the two FGC tests but 'private' SNPs below the shared block compare well between the two tests.
The large phylogenetically equivalent SNP block shared by all subclade matches might be imagined as a chain of descent with dozens of SNP 'links' in that chain below Z2571>FGC11380. However, we don't know the (chronological) order of the links. So far, that block/lineage is unbroken in thousands of years, from at least around 4300 years ago (YFull estimate) up to about the eighth century AD (+/-). In that large passage of time no branches survive, or they have yet to turn up. This very long SNP 'bottleneck' is an indication of the scale of the founding event around 1250 years ago (+/- a century or two), ie. many branches suddenly appear after about 750 AD.
Underneath the Rox2 shared block, a smaller string of reliable SNPs has had time to occur for each lineage down to the present day (on average roughly just over one dozen 'definite' SNPs in BigY - ie. SNPs that are not insertions/deletions or other more complex mutations). Those SNPs have happened in the time between the founder's birth in around 750 AD (+ or -) and the present. If any of those SNPs are shared with another Rox2 kit (after comparison on a phylogenetic tree like the Big Tree) a new branch will form. That branch highlights the point where both kits share a common ancestor. There is wide variation in the numbers of SNPs different individual lineages accumulate during the same passage of time, SNPs are random and are not as regular as clockwork. However, the numbers average out across several kits. As a very rough guide, BigY might on average identify one definite SNP in slightly more than 100 years (3-4 generations) for a Rox2 kit.
If for example a young subclade was descended from several sons of a recent common ancestor (say, a man born in 1750 AD), then there might be few unique definite family SNPs in evidence in each separate line of descent from that man. Also, the genetic distance (GD) between the cluster's STR haplotypes would be very low. If, however, the common ancestor was born in 1350 AD, then half a dozen reliable SNPs could have occurred since that man was born. The STR haplotypes would usually have a higher GD too. As mentioned, by chance some families might experience fewer or greater numbers of SNPs in the same time periods.
There are three currently known deep subclades of Rox2. They might be thought of as 'sons' of the Rox2 founder but not necessarily literal sons - they could be - but the SNP mutation might have happened a generation or two down the line. The remaining Rox2* NGS kits (HG00107, 66501 and B24208) are yet to discover their deep subclade/s. Kits on the Big Tree represent only a small proportion of Rox2, there is a lot more resolution yet to be revealed through NGS testing. New branches will be found when matches to the existing Rox2* NGS tested kits in the 'waiting room' share their results to the same phylogenetic tree. Not much can be learned without comparison with others on phylogenetic trees, like The Big Tree.
The three NGS-identified Rox2 deep subclades (so far), as seen on the Big Tree, are: 1. FGC11414, 2. Y17787, 3. 20663937 G>T.
There is at least one, possibly more, early Rox2 branch/branches awaiting identification. It takes two kits from the same early lineage to form a new branch and that can only be seen after inclusion and analysis (.vcf and BAM files) on a phylogenetic tree.
Rox2 SNPs, mentioned above, can be ordered or requested individually at a reasonable price from YSEQ.net. In order for YSEQ SNP results to show up on FTDNA project screens the kit owner would need to enter their YSEQ result in their FTDNA kit's 'Most Distant Ancestor' box on their 'Personal Profile' page and let the project admins know the result was from YSEQ.
(click image to enlarge)
DIFFERENT 'LEAD' SNPs & SNP NAMES = SAME THING (ROX2)
A 'lead' SNP is a SNP used at the start of the phylogenetically equivalent block to represent the subclade. It is not the first, last or 'terminal' SNP, it's just one someone chose out of the few dozen equivalents to be at the start of their list. Unfortunately many different names for the same SNPs have arisen since 2014 and different equivalent SNPs also get chosen as lead SNPs by different people. YFull use Y8397 (FGC name FGC11374) as Rox2's lead SNP in their tree. YFull have also given their YFS names to some of the other phylogenetically equivalent Rox2 SNPs already named by FGC, eg. FGC11395 is known as Y8842. Alex Williamson has FGC11388 (YFull's Y8837) as the lead phylogenetically equivalent SNP in his Big Tree. YSEQ lead with FGC11369 (YFull's Y8407) in their DF27 Panel test. The above SNPs are currently phylogenetically equivalent to the SNP originally chosen by members of the subclade to represent their subclade, FGC11397. FGC11397 is also available to test individually at YSEQ.net.
The kits on the Big Tree and YFull's tree are those who have taken expensive NGS tests and submitted results for analysis. They represent only a very small proportion of the total number of Rox2 matches distributed across several FTDNA projects. Most have no SNP results, NGS or otherwise. Comprehensive NGS tests, like FGC or BigY, taken in conjunction with 111 STRs, are the ultimate hi-res DNA genealogy combo at the moment. Those using this combination of tests are taken as near to their most recent Rox2 SNPs and matches as is currently possible. As more matches with NGS tests share their results and appear on the phylogenetic trees like the Big Tree, more SNP defined branching under Rox2 will be revealed. The currently known branches are just the tip of the iceberg.
NGS vs SNP 'PACK' TESTS
SNP pack tests are less expensive than BigY/NGS. However, when SNP testing for the first time in the dark (ie. unaware of clues from off-modal STR markers that might point you to Rox2), at least two FTDNA SNP packs are needed just to eventually get to a basic Rox2 SNP identification. The cost of SNP packs and STRs begin to approach the cost of getting a much better and higher resolution BigY/NGS test in the first place.
Z2571, FGC11397/FGC11369 etc. were discovered and reported here and on DNA fora/message boards in April 2014. Still, some of the important early DF27>ZZ12 SNPs only appear on a separate FTDNA DF27 Pack and even DF27 itself was initially omitted from the 'entry level' or 'backbone' M343 pack of late-2015. DF27 was eventually included. Had it not been included that pack would now be producing undefined P312* results for Rox2 and many other DF27>ZZ12 (Z195-) subclades. If you know you are a high resolution Rox2 STR match there is no need to get the P312 or M343 pack tests. Some of Rox2's SNPs appear in the DF27-specific packs (FTDNA's 'R1b-DF27 Top-Layer and Misc Subclades SNP Pack' or the YSEQ 'DF27 panel').
There are Rox2 kits still without defined branching below the subclade's shared block (termed as Rox2*), even after NGS tests like Y Elite by FullGenomes (FGC) or FTDNA's BigY. Consequently, the more limited DF27 packs may not pick up your particular branch - it could be waiting to be discovered via a higher resolution NGS match with an existing Rox2* kit on a phylogenetic tree. DF27>ZZ12 subclades are only just being discovered, there is no guarantee that one's SNPs will be on an existing pack or panel test. The phylogenetic tree below ZZ12 is ever-growing and liable to change as new NGS kits are added to it, so any SNP pack requires regular maintenance from the company selling it to keep it up-to-date.
In contrast, NGS tests highlight a Rox2 match's own dozen-or-so variously named 'family', 'private', 'novel' or 'singleton' SNPs, ie. ones specific to your own particular lineage stretching back from you. NGS results (eg. FGC or BigY) have a big advantage over SNP pack testing in that they have the potential to fill out new or existing branches from your own particular lineage when shared on phylogenetic trees. It is their presence on these trees that might lead to new SNPs being represented on any future pack tests. With a NGS test you are investing in, and adding to, further understanding of the subclade. With SNP packs you are relying on the possibility that previously tested lines might match yours. There is no need for two kits who know they are closely related to take NGS tests - BigY only identifies on average one new SNP every 3-4 generations - or just over every 100 years.
FTDNA DF27 PROJECT
The FTDNA R1b-DF27 and Subclades Project has two sections for Rox2 matches, F8. and Uf.
Group F8. contains Z34609+ results. Z34609 is an ancient SNP that is immediately upstream of Z2571.
Group F8a1. contains some Rox2 STR matches who have taken NGS tests or SNP tested for one of the equivalent defining SNPs, like FGC11397 or FGC11369. Group Uf. contains a few of the many off-modal STR matches (inc. 4 with 111 markers) who have not taken NGS tests or FGC11397 etc. as confirmation yet.
More recent DF27 project members, kits 449235, 501787, B37367, 267927, 465098, 645879, 533969 and 203123 are currently outside the above mentioned groups. They are scattered around different areas of the DF27 results pages but are Rox2 STR matches and should ideally be together. There is little doubt of a 111 STR marker Rox2 match, even without further SNP confirmation. Many more Rox2 STR matches exist but have yet to realise it, test SNPs, or find the DF27 project. If you are a Rox2 match, do let your close matches on your FTDNA dashboard 'Matches' page know about Rox2, its SNPs, this page, and the DF27 project. We all have a slightly different group of matches in our FTDNA matches lists and I can't contact everyone. Some reply when you send them an email, some don't.
Kit 10479 (YF06513) is Z34609>Z2571>FGC11380* (positive for FGC11380/Y8841 and negative for FGC11369/FGC11397 and all other SNPs in Rox2's SNP block). Kit 10479 has origins in the British Isles. FGC11380* is parallel with Rox2 and a new 'F8' group is required for this subclade. Another NGS match with kit 10479 is needed to form a branch with shared SNPs in common. YFull: R-Y8841: FGC11385 * FGC11384 * FGC11380/Y8841.
Group F8b. is for CTS11567 (also known as Z2572). It is an ancient parallel 'brother' subclade to FGC11380, below Z2571. With the recent addition of BigY-tested kits 370005 and 46496 to the Big Tree (November 2016), a deep and ancient subclade just below CTS11567 and parallel with DF84 has formed, named BY3865 (position 14878305 T>C). There are three other equivalent SNPs with BY3865 but they are outside the reliable 'combBED' region. So far, BY3865 looks to have a Northern European distribution and DF84 has a Southern European distribution. This 'north/south' geographical split appears to have formed at a very early point in DF27's existence. The early north/south geographical distance between different deep subclades is a common phenomenon across all DF27, although Rox2's early 'parent' branch, FGC11380, appears exclusively 'north' - so far with only one kit (British Isles ancestry) being FGC11380*. Many more NGS results are needed to see if this pattern hold up below Z2571. Unfortunately, the 2015 'backbone' R1b-M343 SNP pack omitted DF84 (as well as FGC11397 etc.). In February 2016 new sample, ERS257013, with ancestry in the south of Sardinia, to the YFull tree helped form a new branch (Z2569, containing the two South American 1000 Genomes kits) below Z2568, under DF84. This Sardinian kit comes from the Francalacci et al 2013 study of almost 2000 men with roots in Sardinia, in the Mediterranean. It seems to indicate DF84 is an ancient SNP, parallel with BY3865, with two branches (Z2568* and Z2569) springing from it so far.
Anonymous 1000 Genomes kits NA19762 (Mexico) and HG01577 (Peru), who now form the new branch, Z2569, on the YFull tree, with likely origins in Iberia, are said to share currently phylogenetic equivalent SNPs, DF84, Z2568, Z2570, and Z2572/CTS11567. At the FTDNA DF27 project, kit N119082, Haedo, with origins in Biscay in the north of Spain, is CTS11567+ and tested DF84+ in June 2015. This is the first DF84+ result I have heard of outside the 1000 Genomes data. N128161, Gelpi, from Catalunya, Spain is CTS11567+ but does not look to have tested for DF84. Neither kit has STR results but their Geno 2.0 results are listed in the DF27 project's SNP section. DF84 is not in the Geno 2.0 test but it can be ordered separately.
When more CTS11567+ kits take BigY and submit results to the Big Tree, further branching below CTS11567 will be apparent. The DF84 kits, parallel with BY3865, below CTS11567, are from the 1000 Genomes project. A couple of BigY or NGS-tested DF84 kits will help develop branching below that subclade of CTS11567.
An anonymized spreadsheet containing 2000 Chromo2 results was released by BritainsDNA in 2014. I found two kits (1525 and 1903) were CTS11567+ and DF84- but one (1525) was CTS11567+ and S25893+. Therefore, S25893 possibly indicates another subclade below CTS11567/Z2572, parallel with DF84. S25893's position is 23843638 (G>C).
I made a draft SNP tree in order to visualize Z2571 in relation to other subclades of DF27. NGS testing is identifying many interesting new subclades below DF27>ZZ12 that were omitted/undetected by all previously available (pre-2016) chip-based tests, like 'backbone' SNP packs, Geno 2.0 and Chromo2.
There is no firm evidence of a place of origin for Rox2 so far. Future ancient yDNA studies might shed some light on the matter or at least give better clues about the early geographical locations of various DF27>ZZ12 subclades in the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age. Going by higher resolution Rox2 STR and SNP matches the Rox2 subclade has a Northern European distribution and is found in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man, Orkney, Sweden and northern France (Normandy). The locations of most earliest known ancestors' places of birth, when known, can be approximately split into thirds; Scotland (mainly central/south west/Borders), England (mainly north and east) and Ireland (mainly the north). Recently, more matches are turning up in Southern England and Sweden. The proportion of tests of Ireland/British Isles origin is high in public hobbyist yDNA databases and this affects attempts to accurately map a subclade's geographical frequency and distribution using those databases.
Online 'heat maps' made to represent DF27 distribution across Europe use patchy modern data (from just a few easily identifiable downstream subclades) from geographically limited areas and do not reflect the actual distribution. Geographical holes are especially pronounced for the large number of 'invisible' ZZ12 subclades. Heat maps made with hobbyist data give little indication of the origin or distribution of subclades in ancient times and forthcoming ancient yDNA studies 'on the ground' are far preferable when addressing population movement in prehistory. See the map of currently known ancient DF27 at the bottom of my Distribution Maps page. The majority of present-day yDNA testers are based in America and most hobbyist DNA results are from descendants of people who emigrated from the British Isles and Ireland to North America and now live there. Similarly, South America has a high proportion of people of Iberian origin. Emigration patterns to the Americas were not the same across the whole of Europe and parts of rural eastern England, Wales and especially Continental Europe are lightly represented in the hobbyist databases in comparison with Ireland and Scotland - those countries are well represented. Only a very small number of British Isles/Ireland Rox2 matches were born there. I am from England and the Sweden Rox2 cluster are Swedish nationals. If we were to pick an individual modern European haplogroup or subclade at random, it might have highest present-day frequency in Britain/Ireland because that is where the most DNA hobbyists (in America) trace their ancestry. It does not necessarily mean the ancient haplogroups were born in Britain/Ireland.
The incongruous characteristics of the subclade, combined with its estimated age and distribution might suggest a founding event/s, following migration from within Northern Europe. TMRCA estimates, bearing in mind the generous margin of error, indicate this could have taken place there some time between the Migration Period (300- 500 AD) and the Norman Conquest at the end of the eleventh century - so the founder was probably alive some time in the Early Medieval period. The earlier Migration Period and the later Norman Conquest in England bookend the Viking expansion across Northern Europe. By the 1100s AD the subclade could have already become established in several independent family lines (SNP branches) in many different locations.
A subclade founder(s?) appears to have been active in the Early Middle Ages. Of course, the Rox2 yDNA lineage existed before then but the similarity of many high resolution haplotypes today, combined with the sudden branching of several SNP-defined subclades immediately downstream of Rox2's singular and lengthy shared SNP block, suggest a man and/or some of his sons produced a large number of descendants in the Early Middle Ages. Time to most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) estimates suggest the founder might have lived about 1250 years ago +/- a margin of error. Possibly due to his circumstances, offspring of the Rox2 founder appear to have flourished in Early Medieval society - with a rapid expansion of several 'brother' branches in the ninth and tenth centuries AD. Subclades downstream of Rox2 appear to be the result of an Early Medieval Period dynastic founding event.
In 2014 NGS testing at last identified the invisible (to commercial testing) block of SNPs below DF27, ie. ones relevant for the large number of existing DF27* Rox2 matches. After further extensive NGS testing by many more people, that large block remains intact. This lengthy list of shared equivalent SNPs, over three quarters of the total for a Rox2 match, suggests the subclade experienced a prolonged 'genetic bottleneck'. Bottlenecks can result from a migration of an individual (or small related family group) from an original homeland, followed by a founding event some distance away. They can occur if male-line relatives are 'pruned' to only one surviving individual who then goes on to have several surviving offspring. Rox2 might be imagined, in gardening terms, as one long tree trunk that suddenly bursts into a very bushy canopy. It is possible that older and geographically/geneologically distant subclade 'cousins' have not been picked up yet in the mainly Ireland and British Isles-heavy American hobbyist databases. They might be found, if they still exist, in a country far from Ireland and Britain. The chances of a lineage only just surviving in its place of origin from generation to generation (one male per generation) and remaining 'bottlenecked' for around three and a half thousand years must be quite slim. However, population numbers were comparatively low 1000+ years ago and the times could be tough (violence, disease etc.), so lines from that time might well have gone extinct in their original place of origin.
Due to the long bottleneck and the sudden and relatively recent appearance of several Rox2 subclades all at once, it is hard to say where Rox2 was before the Early Medieval Period - there are no geographical traces for thousands of years before the birth of the Rox2 founder. This apparent rarity/incongruity contrasts with subclades downstream of L21>DF13 who do know, and are surrounded by, many of their anciently related 'cousin' branches in Britain and especially in Ireland. Rox2's shared equivalent SNP block (ie. the few-thousand-year-bottleneck) appears to stretch from the earliest times of DF27 to about the eighth century AD, with no branching. Some L21>DF13 lineages were clearly long present in Bronze Age Britain and Ireland, this being confirmed through ancient yDNA testing of ancient remains at Rathlin Island, off Northern Ireland, buried in a Food Vessel context in around 2000 BC. No ancient L21 has been found outside the British Isles and Ireland so far and no ancient DF27 has been found inside the British Isles or Ireland yet, although ancient yDNA testing is not yet very extensive.
Much more testing of ancient yDNA across Europe is needed to see the full picture. However, U152 and even difficult-to-test DF27, have been found in ancient Central Continental European Bell Beaker/Corded Ware-derived archaeological contexts. They have eastern/Steppe-derived autosomal yDNA. Those two P312>ZZ11 subclades are much more frequent today in Continental Europe than L21. The only ancient DF27 identified to date is from the Bronze Age in what is now Germany (2296-2206 calBCE) and is associated with Bell Beaker and Corded Ware grave goods. Autosomal DNA suggests his ancestry was from the east (Eastern Hunter Gatherer/Baltic). The birth of this middle aged Bronze Age DF27+ beaker man is only a few generations removed from the birth of the first DF27 man (currently 2400 BC according to YFull) and roughly coincides with the start of Rox2's millennia-long SNP bottleneck but we don't know his downstream subclade. See map here.
There are well over one hundred different surnames at 67 STR marker resolution and above 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 Rox2 subclade founder, although a few surnames might be fixed earlier or later. Rox2 subclade matching families usually have a name-type that is locally familiar in the region they lived (in rural England, Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man or Sweden). Many surnames in Northern Ireland appear to have earlier Scottish roots. Surnames are not usually a reliable way of tracing back over 1000 years but can hint at the general geographical locations and origins of earliest recorded ancestors (in parish records, mostly beginning in around the sixteenth century). The Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth century saw populations become more mobile, resulting in movement around the British Isles and overseas to British colonies. Modern hobbyist DNA databases represent where some of a subclade's descendants were in relatively recent times. Modern subclade distributions can be quite different from their earliest origin. Archaeologists are now beginning to study ancient DNA and this might lead to a better understanding of where certain subclades were thousands of years ago.
Rox2's age and geographical distribution could be indicative of relatively recent Rox2 founder/s having entered Britain/Ireland from elsewhere, ie. probably from Continental Europe. Future comprehensive ancient yDNA testing will be important to shed light on the puzzle. The broad distribution of different, usually locally specific surnames and the subclade's relatively young age suggests Rox2 expanded quickly over a wide area (a rapid demographic expansion after one or more founding events). The haplotypes of all Rox2 matches are very similar and trace back to one point in time. I am from an old rural North Riding of Yorkshire family that traces back to the beginning of parish records (sixteenth century) in Danby, North Yorkshire. A variation of our surname has a presence in the same general locality in earlier records, possibly as far back as the thirteenth century. Similarly, the increasing numbers of Swedish Rox2 are very old families in their country too and trace back to the beginning of parish records there, in the sixteenth century, in and around Bureå, Skellefteå Municipality in Northern Sweden. As with my Yorkshire ancestors, Sweden Rox2 are likely to have been in the same locality (Northern Sweden) centuries before parish records began.
It is possible, with more NGS testing over the next few years, that earlier (than the Rox2 founder) branches could be found. Central and Eastern Europe, Western Asia and Scandinavia are not as well covered by NGS yDNA testing. There has been poor understanding of DF27>ZZ12+ subclades in academic studies, partly due to the inability of the chip-based SNP testing technology to 'see' DF27. Even studies using NGS technology struggle with DF27 if there are no known downstream SNPs present and the analysis doesn't recognize the ones that are there.
Interestingly, a Bell Beaker/Corded Ware burial (I0806 from Quedlinburg, Germany) was found to be P312+ and dated to 2296-2206 calBCE. They were unable to get a read for any downstream subclades at the time but in September, 2016 it was discovered that I0806 is DF27+). The results were initially interpreted as being P312* but after closer inspection, DF27 SNPs were eventually noticed. I0806's grave contained mixed cultural features, including a Corded Ware shaft-hole axe and a perfect bell beaker. Autosomal DNA suggests he originally came from the east of Poland/Baltic region, not the west of Europe. This also seems to be the case for other European Bell Beaker remains. (link) (link2) (link3) (link4).
For any subclade project claiming descent from a known historical founder, ancient yDNA is vital as a control - to compare with present-day yDNA. Ancient yDNA databases will grow over the next few years.
Many more potential matches exist at 37 marker resolution but their relationship to Rox2 is impossible to confirm for many of them at such low resolution with no SNP tests.
All results used in the TMRCA estimates are a minimum resolution of 111 STR markers. A match is based on a framework of eleven important R1b-P312 off-modal markers across 111 markers and not just on low genetic distance between the haplotypes. The off-modal pattern across 111 markers is very strong and can be used to predict SNP results. The key off-modal pattern is crucial in the identification of a Rox2 match because matches can occasionally happen between unrelated R1b haplotypes simply through coincidence (convergence) at low resolution, ie. 37 STR markers or less. It is not unusual for a haplotype to occasionally differ on a few of the Rox2 ancestral key off-modal signature markers but the general pattern remains clear across 111 markers.
Unrelated subclades of R1b-P312 can match Rox2 STRs through pure chance at only 37 marker resolution. For example, the L21>DF13>L1335>L1065 'Scots Modal' has similar key off-modal markers to Rox2's at low resolution. Until 2008 it was thought there might be some relationship between Scots Modal and Rox2 because of the similar off-modal STR markers but the advent of L21 testing showed that Rox2 was L21-. Even with 67 markers, further DF27 SNP tests and/or an upgrade to the full 111 FTDNA markers are useful to confirm a Rox2 match beyond all doubt.
As the bar chart here illustrates, plotting Rox2 matches' genetic distances from the modal/base haplotype produced a clear bell curve. This indicates the off-modal STR markers work well in identifying common descent from a founder, even without the SNP confirmation we have now. Rox2 is a monophyletic clade.
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 another six important key off-modal STRs for Rox2, including: 540=13 (12), 717=20 (19), 589=11 (12), 636=11 (12), 532=14 (13), 504=16 (17).
An early key defining STR marker was found to be DYS717=20. It is included in the 111 marker upgrade. Some who matched Rox2 at 67 markers have ordered this individual marker from FTDNA under 'Advanced Orders'. DYS717 is strongly off-modal in Rox2 and 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.
The numerous Rox2 haplotypes are recently related enough to have retained identifiable similarities with other distant relatives in the yDNA database. Rox2 can be recognized by the solid off-modal 'signature' STR pattern - one common to all matches over 111 markers. This relationship can be confirmed with SNP tests.
Less uniform key off-modal markers in the 68-111 panels: DYS712 <=20 (21), DYS714 >=26 (25).
The Rox2 modal/base haplotype has 6 out of 67 off-modal differences from the average for all R1b-P312. Rox2 has 16 differences over 111 markers from the R1b-P312 modal. It is a genetic distance (GD) of 9/93 from Ysearch ID: XQJ7H (R1b-P312 (S116) and all Subclades Modal).
In order to get maximum information out of BigY or FGC tests it is very important to compare with other results on phylogenetic trees, like the Big Tree (free) or YFull's tree. This not only benefits one's own research, it also advances understanding of the subclade for all its members and also the wider genetic genealogy community. Little can be learned without comparison with the results of others. It takes at least two similarly matching kits to form a branch on phylogenetic trees. Alex Williamson maintains The Big Tree for free here using files that are sent to him via the address on the website. YFull will analyze NGS test results for you and add them to their tree for $49. Full Genomes (FGC) will analyze BAM files for $50. Make sure you know your goals and what is actually achievable with DNA genealogy before testing.
Let your close matches on your FTDNA dashboard page know about Rox2. Join the FTDNA DF27 and Subclades Project. It's good for matches outside a surname project to also be able to view and compare results but default privacy settings for new FTDNA kits mean new STR results (since March 2015) are invisible unless the privacy settings are changed manually by the user. Matches within a subclade like Rox2 span a number of surname projects with origins in different countries. If you test positive for FGC11397 etc. let one of the DF27 project admins know in order for them to move you to the correct group. More matches can be found by uploading STR results to YSearch.org. Check these pages regularly, they're updated often. Further understanding/progress will be made with engagement in higher resolution STR and NGS testing by the many Rox2 matches who have only 67 STRs, or less, and no SNP tests. Future ancient yDNA studies should provide vital clues to the subclade's origins. DNA genealogy tests are expensive and interpretation is complicated. Solid conclusions are rarely possible but could be arrived at in the future with luck and more data.
The cluster/subclade was named 'Rox2' around ten years ago by Jim Turner, who created the YSearch ID: 3QNM8. I (kit N3461 Corner) first tested around that time, in 2005. Jim and I found we had fairly closely matching STRs with an off-modal 'signature' pattern, along with a few other kits in the early databases. The term Rox2 has stuck after initial discussions. It was, and is, a useful shorthand way to describe a subclade currently known by several different equivalent 'lead' SNPs. Some of those SNPs have multiple but synonymous names.
STR results extant between 2005 and 2012 indicated Rox2 was a monophyletic clade but the deep R1b-P312 subclade it descended from (DF27) was unknown at that time. We tested negative for L21 in 2008 and all subsequent SNP tests then available below P312 also came back negative. Many more STR matches turned up over those years, however. Proud Scot, Angus Horatio Stewart, kit 142928, was the first STR cluster match to test positive (derived) for DF27 when that SNP was identified and became available to test, in May 2012. From 2012 until March 2014 'Rox2' remained a R1b-DF27** yDNA subclade, ie. negative for all then known SNPs below DF27, although there were clear indications that many subclades (most of what was later found below ZZ12) were being missed. The Z195/Z196 subclade, known for years before DF27, was then found to be a parallel subclade to ZZ12 - a 'brother' to ZZ12, below DF27. Chip-based testing from FTDNA's Geno 2.0 and BritainsDNA's Chromo2 identified no relevant SNPs below DF27 for Rox2. A very large section of DF27>ZZ12, not just Rox2, remained unidentified after taking those chip-based tests. Geno 2.0 does not read P312 or DF27. Independent NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) testing by Rox2 kits N3036 and 134765 in April 2014 revealed the SNP trail back to DF27>ZZ12, finally confirming what STR testing had suggested all along. YSEQ was the first company to release a DF27 Panel test in September 2015. FTDNA released a DF27 pack test later that year. The ZZ12 section of DF27 is now growing in and is catching up with the other P312 subclades at last, and has far surpassed the numbers of Z195 in the Big Tree, although DF27 not well covered by academic studies of ancient yDNA because of issues the technology still has seeing DF27.
C. Corner. April 2017.