Relevant for various areas of human genetics, Y-chromosomal short tandem repeats (Y-STRs) are commonly used for testing close paternal relationships among individuals and populations, and for male lineage identification. However, even the widely used 17-loci Yfiler set cannot resolve individuals and populations completely. Here, 52 centers generated quality-controlled data of 13 rapidly mutating (RM) Y-STRs in 14,644 related and unrelated males from 111 worldwide populations. Strikingly, >99% of the 12,272 unrelated males were completely individualized. Haplotype diversity was extremely high (global: 0.9999985, regional: 0.99836-0.9999988). Haplotype sharing between populations was almost absent except for six (0.05%) of the 12,156 haplotypes. Haplotype sharing within populations was generally rare (0.8% nonunique haplotypes), significantly lower in urban (0.9%) than rural (2.1%) and highest in endogamous groups (14.3%). Analysis of molecular variance revealed 99.98% of variation within populations, 0.018% among populations within groups, and 0.002% among groups. Of the 2,372 newly and 156 previously typed male relative pairs, 29% were differentiated including 27% of the 2,378 father-son pairs. Relative to Yfiler, haplotype diversity was increased in 86% of the populations tested and overall male relative differentiation was raised by 23.5%. Our study demonstrates the value of RM Y-STRs in identifying and separating unrelated and related males and provides a reference database. The value of 13 rapidly-mutating (RM) Y-STRs for differentiating male individuals is investigated in 14,644 related and unrelated men sampled from 111 worldwide populations. Over 99% of the 12,272 unrelated men were completely individualized. Of the 2,378 father-son pairs, 27% were separated. Figure: blue lines represent Y-STR haplotypes shared between population pairs in a subset of 7,784 males from 65 populations. Almost all shared haplotypes defined by conventional 17 Yfiler Y-STRs (above) are resolved with the 13 RM Y-STRs (below).

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Human Mutation
Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)

Ballantyne, K, Ralf, A, Aboukhalid, R, Achakzai, N.M, Anjos, T, Ayub, Q, … Kayser, M.H. (2014). Toward Male Individualization with Rapidly Mutating Y-Chromosomal Short Tandem Repeats. Human Mutation, 35(8), 1021–1032. doi:10.1002/humu.22599