During the last few decades, a wealth of studies dedicated to the human Y chromosome and its DNA variation, in particular Y-chromosome single-nucleotide polymorphisms (Y-SNPs), has led to the construction of a well-established Y-chromosome phylogeny. Since the recent advent of new sequencing technologies, the discovery of additional Y-SNPs is exploding and their continuous incorporation in the phylogenetic tree is leading to an ever higher resolution. However, the large and increasing amount of information included in the "complete" Y-chromosome phylogeny, which now already includes many thousands of identified Y-SNPs, can be overwhelming and complicates its understanding as well as the task of selecting suitable markers for genotyping purposes in evolutionary, demographic, anthropological, genealogical, medical, and forensic studies. As a solution, we introduce a concise reference phylogeny whereby we do not aim to provide an exhaustive tree that includes all known Y-SNPs but, rather, a quite stable reference tree aiming for optimal global discrimination capacity based on a strongly reduced set that includes only the most resolving Y-SNPs. Furthermore, with this reference tree, we wish to propose a common standard for Y-marker as well as Y-haplogroup nomenclature. The current version of our tree is based on a core set of 417 branch-defining Y-SNPs and is available online at http://www.phylotree.org/Y.
Keywords: Y chromosome; Y-SNP; genealogy; haplogroup; human evolution; patrilineal ancestry; phylogeny.
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