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Understanding the Admin - Member Subgrouping Tool


The Member Subgrouping Tool is one of the most valuable tools for comparing member results and analyzing Y-DNA and mtDNA results. Different projects have different research goals, so some projects may benefit more from subgroups based on common surname, common direct paternal ancestor, haplogroup, region, or more. DNA test results do not automatically place a project member into a particular subgroup, but are created and organized by the project administrators. 

The Member Subgrouping Tool applies to both Y-DNA and mtDNA results pages on the project website, but the two results tables look drastically different. For this reason we will cover applications of the two separately. This article focuses on the benefits and applications of member subgrouping. To understand how to use the various functions on this GAP tool, take a look at our Using the Admin - Member Subgrouping Tool article.


Changes made in subgrouping for Y-DNA affect the following pages:

Y-DNA Results Page
Y-DNA Results Classic Page
Y-DNA Results Colorized Page


To understand subgrouping, it is important to understand haplogroups and how they are determined. If you are unfamiliar with these topics, you may want to take a look at these articles before continuing:

Understanding Y-STRs
Building the Haplotree
Confirmed Vs. Predicted Haplogroups

One thing that may jump out at you when viewing the Y-DNA results pages is that some haplogroups are in green while others are in red. The ones in red are predicted by STR testing while the ones in green are confirmed by SNP testing. The confirmed haplogroups are usually more refined subclades of the predicted haplogroups. 

When viewing another project, It is not uncommon to see different haplogroups in the same subgroup. For example, you may see many haplogroups of R-M269 in red in the same subgroup with a green R-U106. U106 is a subclade of M269.

Complications such as this mean that the more you understand SNP and STR testing and results, the better you will be able to effectively create and manage subgrouping.

STR Values

When viewing the Y-DNA results pages, you will see a long string of numerical values in columns labeled DYS393, DYS464, and so on. To understand these values, it may be helpful to take a look at our Understanding Y-STRs article. Some administrators choose to subgroup based on a specific set of STR values or even on a single marker if that marker holds particular significance to distinguish paternal lineages within the group.


Changes made in subgrouping for mtDNA affect the following pages:

mtDNA Results
mtDNA Results Classic

Unlike Y-DNA, mtDNA results are not based on a series of STR markers, but rather on specific mutations. The mutations are based on the differences in nucleotide values from the RSRS reference sequence. These mutations are organized by HVR1, HVR2, and the Coding region. You are able to see Coding Region mutations in GAP for those members who have set 

Their permissions to share these in their Project Preferences. However, because they may contain medical implications, Coding Region mutations will not be displayed to project members on the website whether or not they are signed into their kit.

For mtDNA, administrators typically choose to organize subgroups either by haplogroup, or a specific mutation shared by all members of that subgroup. The results pages will not display a mean, median, or mode as they do on the Y-DNA results pages, but rather strictly the mutations each project member has.

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