Monday, July 30, 2012

A Short Update from Spencer Wells on Geno 2.0

This morning I received an email from Dr. Spencer Wells who leads the Genographic Project. He asked me to share some information with the community regarding the sources of the Y-SNPs included on the chip that will be used for Geno 2.0. He also commented on the role that he envisions for our citizen scientists within the genetic genealogy community in partnership with Geno 2.0.

To be absolutely clear, I will quote his email, as follows:

"...the Y-markers on the Geno 2.0 chip come from a variety of sources.  The majority are entirely new, and are drawn from the work of our team and collaborators:

~3500 from Chris Tyler-Smith, drawn primarily from 1K Genomes data
~3500 from Li Jin, discovered by deep sequencing in East Asian populations from a variety of haplogroups
~5000 from Paolo Francalacci and Sergio Tofanelli, discovered by deep sequencing in Sardinian populations from a variety of haplogroups

The rest are drawn from the ISOGG tree, FTDNA, Hammer and other available sources*.  The final number of working assays for the rare markers (and thus those most likely to be of interest to the genealogical community) is yet to be determined, as we simply don't have access to all of the the positive controls necessary.  This is where the genetic genealogy community can really help, by vetting the rare markers in samples with known phylogenetic positions... I see this as an opportunity for the community to take an active role in helping us to build the definitive Y-chromosome tree.  It will also likely yield many markers with extraordinary specificity for family-defining lineages that will be important for genetic genealogy."

I am confident that I can speak for the community when I thank Dr. Wells for his willingness to engage our community and to share further details on this exciting project with us. 

I will continue to update my readers as I receive additional information on Geno 2.0.

*Among these sources are citizen scientists and FTDNA customers: Gregory Magoon, Richard Rocca, David F Reynolds, Bonnie Schrack and Peter M Op den Velde Boots who assisted in these discoveries by mining public sources (like 1000 Genomes). The many admins and individuals who have worked toward WTY SNPs and, of course, Dr. Hammer also deserve mention.


  1. Thanks, CeCe, it's extremely interesting to hear about the sources for the Y-SNPs! But also, it had been my understanding that there were a bunch of SNPs that came to the chip from our citizen scientist 1K Genomes data-mining team. It would be nice to hear us explicitly mentioned among the collaborators.
    We'll look forward very much to playing an active role, as always, in discovering the way the new SNPs define the branching of the Y-tree.
    Bonnie Schrack

    1. Good point, Bonnie! I added a note mentioning those names.

  2. Thanks, CeCe! I guess that means you can confirm what I had heard. Now if we can find out whose Y-DNA samples were used for trying out the new SNPs -- was it only WTY and FGS samples, or others as well? I hope they will all receive their results, but I wonder if we'll need to actively nudge FTDNA for this to be done?

    1. Update:

    2. Spencer says those whose samples were used will receive their results free of charge. However, Roberta was told that only 23 WTY public participants were used in the vetting process. I don't know how many FMS were used, but I can confirm that some of both will receive their results for Geno 2.0 with no nudging required! :-)

  3. Hello, my name is Taylor scheurer. I have an assignment for my biology class and need to email Dr. Wells. Would you be so kind to give me his email?