Monday, December 16, 2013

When will you see BIG Y results?

When will we see the beginning of the SNP Tsunami from the large number of BIG Y tests many of you have ordered? 

Got a calendar on the wall for the first quarter of 2014? Got a dart? ;-)

I'm in batch 542 (see blog earlier post) which was originally predicted to be returned 12/31/2013. What great fun it would have been to decode Y-SNPs on New Years Eve!  This predicted date on my FTDNA page -- as many of you probably know -- has now eroded to 2/28/2014. The FAQ on FTDNA’s site has always said a less specific February, 2014.

On December 6th Janine Cloud, Customer Service Manager @ FTDNA wrote:
FYI: When a kit is batched it automatically gets an expected results date. Unfortunately, it is batch-specific, not test specific. There's not currently a mechanism to set that message by test type until AFTER it's been batched.

 For example, everyone knows that a Y-12 will get results faster than a Y-111, yet both get the same expected results date if they're batched at the same time.

 Since everyone who ordered Big Y already had testing done with us, the orders batched each Wednesday as usual, even though the test has not begun running yet. Consequently, those Big Y tests got the same expected results date as all the other tests in the batch. With regular tests, we don't know that the whole group of tests will not be ready at the end of that expected results dates, but with the Big Y we did, so rather than wait until the end of the block of time, we arranged for those dates to be changed up front to help mitigate some of the potential for frustration over the test not being completed by that initial date.

 Normally those dates are updated the day after the expected date, but in this case there was reason to wait until Jan 1st, etc. to make the change. 

Then a few days later from Thomas Krahn who used to manage the SNP testing in the FTDNA lab but now runs his own company:

Good news for Big Y! I was at FTDNA yesterday and Max has told me that they have the first successful runs in house completed. He didn't say on which machine they were running (MiSeq or HiSeq) and he didn't comment on possible barcoding problems, but this gives us hope that some customers may not need to wait until next year to see their results.

We have also discussed the transfer of customer samples. It is important that those who want their samples transferred need to contact Max directly ( because apparently a commitment from the FTDNA customer support is not sufficient. However if Max approves them himself, then there doesn't seem to be a problem that samples can get transferred. Usually 50ul are sufficient. However if there is a way to get a new sample, then both companies would prefer that method instead of a sample transfer. Only samples that cannot be re-done or where laws prohibit taking a new sample should consider the transfer.

Also good news for FGC customers: YSEQ has returned the first results to our customers today. Most of the FGC markers could be confirmed right away with Sanger sequencing. It seems that Greg has done a very good job with analyzing the data. In addition to that we have kicked out a bunch of SNP candidates on repetitive and X homologue sequences during the primer design phase, so that the remaining FGC markers were almost all a hit on the first try. Especially I'd like to point out the FGC5496 marker for R1b-DF13 researchers because it has also been confirmed in another sample of the 1000 genomes project. This marker is available at already.

If you aren't confused yet, you haven’t been paying attention! Let me know when you get your results.

Happy Holidays!!


  1. In case anyone is wondering about the Big Y Test release of results today… has been very disappointing for pretty much all involved as test results were not delivered as promised today (and a fourth date of "hopeful" release was passed along to customers of the Big Y Test from Nov/Dec 2013..

    FTDNA seems very noncommittal in their wording to its customers. Originally Big Y results for many were to be received on 31 Dec 2013. The it was pushed to mid Feb 2014, then to 28 Feb 2014. Now this is the notice that the majority of the Big Y customers received today from FTDNA not through an email but to there account on the FTDNA Website:

    “We expect that all samples ordered during the initial sale (last November & December) will be delivered by March 28th. We are processing samples in first come first serve order. If a sample doesn’t pass quality control, we will place it in the next set of results to be processed as long as we have enough DNA sample. If we require an additional sample, we will send a new test kit and place the new sample in the first set to be processed when it is returned.”

    The very loose wording at the shows that FTDNA is not guaranteeing delivery of order Big Y test results by 28 March 2014, the they clearly indicate “We expect…”

    To find out that the on 28 Feb 2014 that the expected date (which was changed three times to 28 Feb 2014) of 28 Feb 2014 will not be met, however it may are may not be met by 28 March 2014 (even if there are no issues above FTDNA having to process the test) is pretty horrible customer service.

  2. Thanks for the update Peter. I thought I was being humorous when I said above, "Got a calendar on the wall for the first quarter of 2014? Got a dart?" Maybe I was unduly optimistic!

  3. I am puzzled in trying to figure out why FTDNA avoids questions like: What reagent did they ran out of? What company is the supplier of the reagent? How many BigY results are ready and done, is it really only 100 or are they sitting on a thousand results without letting them out to their customers? Not answering at all must mean that the questions are way to sensitive for them. Try asking them yourself. Begin with the simple question about how many BigY results they already have. Prepare yourself for a Big Ignoration. FTDNA can't answer the questions. And they can't deny it. All that is left: ignore the customers and hope the questions blows away. In the meanwhile: Threat forum members with banning them from their forum. Introduce full moderation in their forum, only letting reviewed posts through. Question their upset customers asking questions they do not want. Things like take will not make me calm.

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  5. Confused, unfortunately nothing new regarding the Big Y was pushed out by FTDNA on Monday 3 March 2014 with regard to Big Y Testing results. Hopefully something will get pushed out, even if is only that the have enough reagent in their possession to finish the remainder of the testing left.

  6. On a positive note regarding the Big Y Test the FTDNA Customer Service representative responded to my email in a very timely manner, in which it was confirmed that FTDNA does indeed have all the materials (including reagents) in their possession required to test the remainder of the Big Y customers. As well, FTDNA are expecting to be releasing a more detailed timeline for the remaining Big Y Test results releases shortly.

  7. Hi Peter,
    Thank you for the updates. Are you part of the Donald Project?

    1. Dr D,

      Yes I am part of the Clan Donald Project. Are you?

  8. Yes I am also a member. There are two Peter MacDonalds in the project.

  9. Dr D,

    I am in the R1b Red Black Subgroup. My ID number is &Z9ZNE.

  10. I have received my Big Y Results and am very glad I signed up for the test. Prior to taking the Big Y, I knew that I was L1065. Results have immediately taken me 4 SNPs downstream of L1065. On top of this I have the Big Y has me positive with a high confidence for an additional 82 Novel (variant) SNPs. Once these novel/variant SNPs are compared with the results of others (which may take some time) much will be learned about my paternal linage.

    Although the Big Y had a rocky start this time around (remained of Big Y test results are scheduled to be completed prior to 28 March 2014) I am extremely satisfied with the product that FTDNA has created.

    Once all the novel/variant SNPs are sorted out, I believe that the Big Y will be the most beneficial genetic genealogy test on the market. From my personal experience with both my currently known results and the expected follow-on information that is expected, I highly recommend this product to anyone interested in their paternal ancestry. Well worth the investment.

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  12. Hi Peter,

    I'm happy for you. It is even possible I will learn something from your test since we are both part of Clan Donald. However, it appears that I am going to have to be more patient --- at least wait longer. :-(

    I just got this email from Bennett Greenspan:

    As promised, here is an update on our progress. We are processing approximately 5 times the number of BigY samples we initially anticipated. As of today, 30% of the samples ordered have been processed, scored, and uploaded to individual accounts.
    We know we were late in delivery, and that we failed to properly communicate the delay. We are working to get samples to customers as fast as possible. Our update letters are an attempt to improve our communication with the community.
    Of the remaining samples, approximately 10% will be uploaded to customer accounts early next week. Another 10-15% of the order backlog will be off our sequencers for upload by the end of next week. An additional 20% of the total number of ordered samples will be available early the week of March 31.
    Samples that will remain uncompleted by the end of March include:
    • Samples that failed QC and required a 2nd vial, either from existing inventory or from a new collection kit which is already in the mail.
    • Samples whose coverage was less than what we had promised and are being sequenced further to add coverage.
    • The last 20% of orders that we expect to deliver by the middle of April.
    We expect to deliver all outstanding samples (for which kits were not sent out) by the middle of April. We have greatly upgraded and improved our processing pipeline to facilitate the unexpectedly high demand for BigY, but as a result we are happy to announce that new orders (as well as orders filled by new kits) have a newly reduced turn-around-time of 8 weeks.

    We want to thank everyone for their support we hope to deliver new improvements and products to everyone on a better timeline, with better messaging for the future.
    Best Regards
    Bennett Greenspan
    Family Tree DNA
    a Gene by Gene company
    "History Unearthed Daily"

  13. Good luck with getting your results sooner than later.

  14. Finally got my Big Y results from FTDNA today. They were ordered on 11 Nov 2013 and were in batch 542. Have 538 derived SNPs and 90 novel variants. Have not been able to determine yet if I have a terminal SNP below L21. Had the same problem on Geno 2.0. Will continue working with 3rd part tools and let you know results. Herb McDaniel

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  16. Herb,

    If you haven't yet had your results place onto Alrx Williamson's L21 Tree I recommend that you do: