Y11 Upgrade Offer

Those of you who have done an STR test at FTDNA will have received a very good offer to upgrade to Y111, even if you have already done BigY. This seems to run counter to my new strategy, but in fact I think it is just another step beyond it, designed to give greater granularity in the most recent period. SNPs only occur every 130 years on average, so it may be necessary to differentiate people who match closely on SNPs.

However the situation is confusing. Somebody has just asked the following  on the U106 forum:

I have received an offer from FtDNA to upgrade my father’s kit to Y-111 and I was wondering if it is worth doing?

There were two strong responses:

First, you will never get a chance to do it at that price again. Obviously FTDNA are keen to get all Big Y men up to Y111, to give as Mike Walsh (R1b admin) says Gold Standard testing. It is certainly possible to get Y111 matches from men that just miss out at the lower levels, and that can be useful. Plus, it gives the opportunity to develop an STR signature for your subclade. Also, it will complement the additional hundreds of STRs that FTDNA are planning to deliver us from our Big Y later next year.
Kind regardsJohn
Yes, yes, absolutely yes. Since you’re a BigY tester, you’ll have received the best offer you’re ever going to get for doing this.
STR data isn’t just about who Family Tree DNA matches you with. STRs form a parallel tree to SNPs. When combined with BigY and other sequencing tests, they can be used to identify relationships with people who are outside the matching criteria, but who may still be interesting to you.

Y-37 will typically match you to 97.5% of the people you’re related to in the last 270 years, and 2.5% of the people you’re related to in the last 1290 years (NB: that’s an average!). So there are a lot of people who you might match in the 500+ year period who may be historically relevant to your ancestry, but who do not show up as matches to you.

So I would jump on this one while you can.

But then this had me scratching my head:
At the recent conference FTDNA promised to upgrade all the Big Y testers YSTRs. They rowed back on their promise and are charging Big Y testers for a YSTR upgrade. 

“FTDNA will be generating STR data for a minimum of 300 or so STRs and possibly as many as 500 or so STRs for all people who buy the BigY. They will generate this data for everyone who has previously done the BigY. Exactly when this data will appear on our BigY results page at FTDNA is uncertain, but it will probably be sometime next year. The STR results will be given to everyone who has done the BigY, no matter when they ordered the test. FTDNA has hired Dr. Caleb Davis, who has a PhD in bioinformatics, to head up the research into which STRs can be reliably called and which cannot.”” 

So some big moves are afoot. Certainly it seems from January BigY includes Y111 and more, but I don’t know what the price will be. I can’t  believe there won’t be future opportunities to upgrade existing BigYs, and maybe they will do it for free at some point. But it is a pretty cheap offer if you want to remove uncertainty.

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