Native American Haplogroups Q, C and the Big Y Test

Sicangu man c 1900I’m writing this to provide an update about Native American paternal research, and to ask for your help and support, but first, let me tell you why.  It’s a very exciting time.

If you don’t want the details, but you know you want to help now….and we have to pay for these tests by the end of the day December 1 to take advantage of the sale price…you can click below to help fund the Big Y testing for Native American haplogroups Q and C.  Both projects need approximately $990.  Everything contributed goes directly to testing.

To donate to the American Indian project, in memory of someone, a family member perhaps, or maybe in honor of an ancestor, or anonymously, click this link:

https://www.familytreedna.com/group-general-fund-contribution.aspx?g=AIP

In order to donate to haplogroup C-P39 project, please click this link:

http://www.familytreedna.com/group-general-fund-contribution.aspx?g=Y-DNAC-P39

Now for the story…

As many of you know, haplogroup Q and C are the two Native American male haplogroups.  To date, every individual with direct paternal Native American ancestors descends from a subgroup of either haplogroup Q or C, Q being by far the most prevalent.  Both of these haplogroups are also found to some extent in Asia and Europe, but there are distinct and specific lineages found in the Americas that represent only Native Americans.  These subgroups are not found in either Europe or Asia.

In December, 2010, we found the first SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) marker that separated the European and the Native American subclades of haplogroup Q.  Since that time, additional markers have been found through the Walk the Y program and other research.

How did this happen?  A collaborative research approach between individual testers and project administrators.  In this case, Lenny Trujillo was a member of the haplogroup Q project and he agreed to take the WTY (Walk the Y) test, which indeed, discovered a very unique SNP marker that defines Native American haplogroup Q, as opposed to European haplogroup Q.

Much has changed in three years.  The WTY test which was focused solely on research is entirely obsolete, being replaced by a new much more powerful test called the Big Y, and at a reduced cost.  The Big Y sequences a much larger portion of the Y chromosome, which will allow us to discover even more markers.

Why is this important?  Because today, in haplogroups Q and C, we are learning through standard STR (short tandem repeat) surname marker tests who is related to whom, and how distantly, but it’s not enough.  For example, we have a group of haplogroup Q men in Canada who match each other, but then another group with a different SNP marker that is located in the Southwest, Mexico, and then in the North Carolina/Virginia border area.  Oh yes, and one more from Charleston, SC.  Most Native American men who carry haplogroup C are found in Northeastern Canada….but then there is one in the Southwest. What do these people have in common?  Is their relationship “old” or relative new?  Do they perhaps share a common historical language group?  We don’t know, and we’d like to.  In order to do that, we need to further refine their genetic relationship.  Hence, the new tool, the Big Y.

The Big Y sequences almost all of the Y chromosome – over 10 million base pairs and nearly 25,000 known SNPs.  But the good news is that the Big Y, like its predecessor, the WTY, has the ability to find new SNPs.  And they are being found by the buckets – so fast that the haplogroup trees can’t even keep up.  For example, the haplogroup project page still lists most Native people as Q1a3a, but in reality many new SNPs have been discovered.  The official haplogroup tree is still under construction, but you can see an updated version on the front page of the haplogroup Q project.

That’s the good news – that the Big Y represents a huge research opportunity for us to make major discoveries that may well divide the Native groups in the Haplogroup C and Q projects into either language groups, or maybe, if we are lucky, into tribal “confederacies,” for lack of a better word.  I hate to use the word tribes, because the definition of a tribe has changed so much.  What we would like to be able to do it to tell someone from their test results that they are Iroquoian, for example, or Athabascan, or Siouian.  This has been our overarching goal for years, and now we’re actually getting close.  That potential rests with the Big Y.

The bad news is that the test costs $495, and that’s the sale price good only through Dec. 1., and we need funding.  In the haplogroup Q project, we do have a few people who are testing.  Everyone who did the WTY has been sent a $50 coupon to apply towards the Big Y test.  I hope everyone who did do the WTY will indeed order the Big Y as well.  If not, then the coupon can be donated to us, as project administrators, to apply towards the Big Y test of someone else in the group who is testing.  If you’re not going to test, please donate your coupon.

In haplogroup Q, we have two additional men who we desperately want to take the Big Y test, and 2 in haplogroup C as well.  We’re asking for two things.  First, for unused $50 coupons and second, for contributions against the $495 price.  We’d certainly welcome large contributions, or a sponsor for an entire test, but we’d also welcome $5, $10, $25 or whatever you’d like to contribute.  Every little bit helps.

To donate to the American Indian project and to help fund this critical research, click this link:

https://www.familytreedna.com/group-general-fund-contribution.aspx?g=AIP

In order to donate to haplogroup C-P39 project for this research, please click this link:

http://www.familytreedna.com/group-general-fund-contribution.aspx?g=Y-DNAC-P39

Thank you everyone, in advance, for your help.  We can’t do this without you.  This is what collaborative citizen science is all about.  Of course, we’ll report findings as we receive them and can process the information.

12 thoughts on “Native American Haplogroups Q, C and the Big Y Test

  1. One test is now funded in both the Q and C project, so we’re half way there. Still need one more test in each project with one day left in the sale. Thank you everyone who has contributed.

  2. Thank you to ALL who (immediately) contributed to the C P39 Y DNA project as well. There are now three Big Y Tests ordered in the C P39 Y DNA project (for three separate surnames out of three separate geographic areas within North America) – THANKS to the contributors who have made these ground-breaking tests possible! I am hoping that we’ll be able to round out our tests with a fourth! Thanks to all contributors (and participants!) for their OUTSTANDING generosity and support of our Q and C P39 Y DNA projects and the advancement of science!

  3. I just wanted to update folks. We have just funded the second hap Q test and now have some towards a third candidate – which would be wonderful. We are half way to our second hap C group funded test as well. This means that including the people who have ordered their own tests, we’re now at 21 total kits funded. The level of support we are receiving moves me to tears. Thank you.

  4. More good news! We were able to make contact with a participant over the weekend and now round out our tests with a FOURTH C P39 Y DNA Big Y test! This makes four surnames and four geographic areas represented in the study! There may be a fifth in the wings (fingers crossed) …

  5. Pingback: Native American YDNA Projects Could Use Your Help Now | Ups and Downs of Family History

  6. Our FIFTH C P39 Y DNA Big Y test approval came through as did the General Fund contributions that helped us place the order. Thanks to all participants, contributors and the FTDNA customer reps who stayed at work this weekend to respond to questions and process orders!

  7. Pingback: 2013’s Dynamic Dozen – Top Genetic Genealogy Happenings | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  8. Pingback: Big Y DNA Results Divide and Unite Haplogroup Q Native Americans | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  9. Pingback: Big Y DNA Results Divide and Unite Haplogroup Q Native Americans | Native Heritage Project

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