Big Y Price Reduction and New Matching Feature

It has been a busy week in the world of the Y chromosome.  Today, Family Tree DNA announced a new feature for their Big Y matching product, as well as a permanent price reduction to $595.

Their new feature makes it easier to determine how far up or down the haplotree your matches reside.  This used to be intuitive, based on the old-style haplogroup names like R1b1a2, when compared against R1b, for example – which was obviously three branches upstream.  Now that R1b1a2 is known as R-M269 and R1b is known as R-M343, there is nothing intuitive about this – which is why Family Tree DNA introduced this helpful tool.

ftdna 7-28 announce

You can see how  Big Y matching works at this link.

There are two parts of the Big Y test, the results themselves, of course, and matching to others.  The power in all of DNA testing is in who you match, and how, and the Big Y is a research tool to more fully define the Y tree, and your family branches too.  Of course, to do that, you’ll need members of those branches to test.

Competition seems to be a good thing.  Earlier this week, Full Genomes Corporation (FGC) introduced a competing product in the same financial space as the Big Y.  Debbie Kennett reported on their new Y Prime offering which is priced at an introductory special of $599.  One of the benefits of the Y Prime over FGC’s previous Y Elite test, aside from price, is the fact that the DNA is no longer being sent to China, but is being tested here in the US.  Of course, Family Tree DNA tests have always been processed in the US and are currently performed in their Gene by Gene lab in Houston, TX.

There are other differences between Family Tree DNA’s Big Y and FGC’s Y Prime, aside from the increased coverage that Debbie reported in her blog.  One difference is that your results from FGC are not online.  There is no matching either, with any other customers.  You receive your FGC report personally, via e-mail, as a file, and you cannot integrate the results with the people who are testing at, and matching at, Family Tree DNA.  In fact, Family Tree DNA is the only DNA testing company providing Y testing, online results, matching, projects and integration.

Competition seems to be a good thing for the consumer, though, because Family Tree DNA has reduced their Big Y price to just under the FGC price, by $4.  So, in essence, it’s no longer a financial decision.

I’ve been wanting to test several of the men in my Estes surname project, and we’re almost to the price point where I can do so.  Regardless of the increased coverage at FGC, I will be testing through Family Tree DNA.  I feel that the online results, matching capability, the surname and haplogroup projects, and having the ability to maintain the STR marker matches and the SNP matches in the same data base provides a service that is unequaled.  From my perspective, DNA testing without matching and analysis tools would be pretty much pointless.

10 thoughts on “Big Y Price Reduction and New Matching Feature

  1. I agree….hands down FTDNA is THE ONLY place to do Y DNA (and mtDNA for that matter) testing! Thx Roberta! 🙂

  2. Roberta,
    I love the way you always report competitors and give details of WHY you think FTDNA is better. It’s clear you favor FTDNA over competitors but you always explain why.

  3. The YPrime product apparently does include STR data which BigY does not provide.
    In addition, the mtDNA data is also reported with YPrime.

    If BigY included STRs and mtDNA data, it would be a much better product.

    • The STR data is not reliably read in NGS sequencing . I’ve seen two different sets of Big Y vs FGC results and of the 111 markers that FTDNA reports in their STR testing, 22 of them did not read in the FCG results for one person and 8 did not read for the other. Furthermore, there are mismatches on some markers between the two. As I understand it, the NGS does particularly poorly with long runs of repeats. In any case, I would not say it’s reliable. I would count it as an “extra” for FGC. Mitochondrial is also not full coverage. I wrote about it here:

  4. Roberta, I have just got the results back from 2 “starter” Y tests. I noticed that on one of the tests, the matches were predominantly of the similar surname and its variations. The other test seemed to have matches of random surnames without much rhyme or reason. I have upgraded the less specific test to the 37 markers. What would you thoughts be about the differences between the two results? Could you discuss it some time?
    Dolores West

  5. Thank you for you wonderful explanations of DNA testing, as someone with NO SCIENCE comprehension I would be lost without your blogs. I recently tested what is suspected to be a 4th cousin 2x removed: I did Y12, 25 and 37 to compare to my parental Y 67 test (done earlier in the year). For my NEW test at 12 there was no matches for anyone of our ORR surname at 25 and 37 my 2 test ktis are listed as matches and the new test kit matched most of the same ORR surnames as my original testor but at either 1 step closer or 1 step further than my original testor. We matched 11/12, 24/25 and 33/37 respectively (the 12 markers did not list us as related). The original testor had matches to our surname at each level. I am not really sure if testing further between these 2 kits (such a Full Y) is genealogically beneficial or if what has already been done is enough to say our MCRA is too far back to be of any real use at this time. Any advise is appreciated. TY

    • At this point, you have confirmed that your do have a common ancestor, and you’re probably to the point where genealogy research is what will connect those dots. I would not think additional testing would do anything more to determine your MCRA.

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