From ISOGG Wiki
Convergence (also known as evolutionary convergence) is a term used in genetic genealogy to describe the process whereby two different genetic signatures (usually Y-STR-based haplotypes) have mutated over time to become identical or near identical resulting in an accidental or coincidental match.
One can think of convergence as producing misleading matches – two men appear to be more closely related than they actually are. The same situation may result (very occasionally) if there is an exceptional lack of divergence. In other words, so few mutations occurred in the descendants of a common ancestor over the course of time that the common ancestor may appear to have lived only a few hundred years ago when in fact he lived much further back than that, perhaps several thousand years ago.
Parallel mutations and back mutations in individual STR marker values are the mechanisms by which convergence occurs.
Convergence is likely to be a particular problem within haplogroups R1b and I1 which both have a more recent origin but expanded very rapidly. The haplotypes which are most affected are likely to be those which are closest to the modal haplotype for the haplogroup, such as people who match the Western Atlantic Modal Haplotype or the so called Niall of the Nine Hostages haplotype. The presence of matches with a large number of different surnames is a possible indicator that convergence has occurred. Convergence is more likely to be a problem with low-resolution 12-marker and 25-marker matches, but does also occur with 37-marker matches. It is less likely to occur at 67 markers, though a case has been reported of two 67-marker haplotypes with a genetic distance of 6, which were found to be in different R1b subclades. If convergence is a possibility then it is recommended to upgrade to a minimum of 67 markers and to order SNP testing to help rule out the coincidental matches which will have no genealogical relevance.
The incidence of convergence is not known, in part because the majority of people in the Family Tree DNA database have not ordered any SNP testing. Robert Casey has estimated that perhaps only 5% to 10% of genetic families or groups in surname DNA projects are affected by the problems of convergence but for the people in such groups perhaps 20% to 90% of their matches might be false positives.
- Chuan-Chao Wang, Ling-Xiang Wang, Rukesh Shrestha, Shaoqing Wen, Manfei Zhang, Xinzhu Tong, Li Jin, Hui Li (2015). Convergence of Y chromosome STR haplotypes from different SNP haplogroups compromises accuracy of haplogroup prediction (£). Journal of Genetics and Genomics 42: 403–407. Preprint PDF available from Arxiv.
- Sol´e-Morata N, Bertranpetit J, Comas D, Calafell F (2014). Recent radiation of R-M269 and high Y-STR haplotype resemblance confirmed. Annals of Human Genetics 78: 253–254.
- Larmuseau MHD, Vanderheyden N. Van Geystelen et al (2014). Recent radiation within Y-chromosomal haplogroup R-M269 resulted in high Y-STR haplotype resemblance. Annals of Human Genetics 78 (2): 92-103.
- Common haplotypes by Georgia Kinney Bopp
- Example of Y-STR convergence A diagram compiled by Mike Walsh showing a hypothetical example of convergence in R1b-P312 and R1b-U106.
Blog posts and articles
- Convergence - what is it? by Maurice Gleeson, The Gleason/Gleeson DNA Project, 20 May 2017.
- Convergence - quantifying parallel and back mutations (Part 1) by Maurice Gleeson, The Gleason/Gleeson DNA Project, 25 May 2017.
- Convergence An article by Ralph Taylor for the Taylor Family Genes Project
- Convergence An essay by Rob Spencer
- DNA convergence and Chicken Little by Mike Maglio. Origin Hunters, 5 December 2014. See also the related discussion on this issue in the ISOGG Facebook group.
- Smolenyak M and Turner A. Trace Your Roots with DNA. Rodale, 2004, p251.
- Mayka L. Coincidental convergence (or lack of divergence). Posting on the Rootsweb Genealogy DNA mailing list, 5 November 2012.
- Casey R. YSNPs - key to the future. YouTube presentation, 30 October 2013.