Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1 What are the aims of the Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project?

The Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project has the following aims:
  • To map out the Y-DNA haplotypes of the various ethnic groups within this region
  • To provide a reliable platform for the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan (and their diaspora) to research their recent and deep ancestral origins

Q2 My great-grandfather migrated from Afghanistan / Pakistan but very little is known about his background. I am researching my roots and will very much like to know where my forefathers came from. How will taking a Y-DNA test help me to achieve this?

A Y-DNA test can be used to reveal the relationship between two individuals - namely whether they share a common male ancestor. For example, if two males take a 37 marker Y-DNA test and find that they match on all markers, it is highly likely (95% probability) that they are related within the past 8 generations.

Taken from the India (regional) Project, this table shows five individuals with purported Mughal ancestry.  Three of them match exactly at 25 markers while the other two only mismatch by one marker.

If you are researching your paternal ancestry, but your knowledge of your grandfather or great-grandfather (who migrated from the region) is limited, then a Y-DNA test will be a very good starting point. There is a small chance that you may immediately match another participant within the group, who you can readily contact and together, you can verify your relationship and ancestry. Obviously, this is useful for people of Afghan or Pakistani heritage who have lost contact with their relatives in the ancestral land.

Even if you do not have an immediate match, your results will inform you of your haplogroup. And by comparing it with others within the project group, you can have a reasonable estimate of your recent as well as your deep ancestral origins.

Presently, the Y-DNA database for Afghans and Pakistanis are under-represented. As more Afghans, Pakistanis and people of Afghan and Pakistani heritage get tested, we will hopefully see more matches, or the very least, discerning patterns of ethnicity within the members of our project group. 

Q3 If I already know my ancestry, what incentives do I have for joining the project?

By getting a Y-DNA test and joining the Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project you will be able to:
  • find genetic cousins - individuals who share a common paternal male ancestor with yourself
  • assist individuals within the project group in tracing their ancestry
  • verify your own ancestry against project members 
  • research your deep ancestry (eg. up to 4000 years ago) against published materials on Afghan-Pakistani ethnicity

Q4 I have done a Y-DNA test with FTDNA. Can I join this project?

Yes, definitely!

Q5 I have done a Y-DNA test with another company (eg. The Genographic Project or Can I transfer my results to FTDNA?

Yes you can.

For those of you who had tested under the Genographic Project, please click here.

For those of you who had tested with DNA Heritage, please click here.

For those of you who had tested with, GeneTree or Sorenson's SMGF, please click here.

You may also wish to read the general FAQ on 3rd Party Transfers here.

Q6 Who funds the Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project? What is its relationship with Family Tree DNA (FTDNA)?

No one. The Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project is not a funded research. As a volunteer Project Admin, I receive no financial incentive whatsoever for managing this project. I just wish to provide people of Afghan and Pakistani heritage a reliable place to research their ancestry and roots. Each participant pays for his or her own DNA test.

Family Tree DNA is the largest provider of genetic genealogy tools in the world. It has the largest database for genealogical results with over 214,000 Y-DNA and 132,000 mtDNA records. I believe they are the leaders in the field of genetic genealogy. And by far from my own experience, they provide the best service and the most reliable results and tools for results analysis. The Group Projects allow its members an opportunity to work with others to explore their genetic heritage.

Q7 I will like to know if joining the project will cost me money or not. Is there a break in the fee for those who just want to contribute their DNA to the Afghan-Pakistani Project? I believe the fee poses an obstacle to people participating.

You do not have to pay to join the Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project. Additionally, you are not required to pay any kind of subscription fees. As mentioned, the project - like all other Group Projects on FTDNA - are managed by volunteer Project Administrators.

What you do need to pay for, if you decide you want to join the project - is a Y-DNA test of your own. Each member pays for his or her own Y-DNA test.

The cheapest Y-DNA test is the 12 marker Y-DNA test which cost $99. The 12 marker test is only available for individuals who join any Group Project. You can read more about the different levels of Y-DNA testing (12, 25, 37, 67, 111 markers) here. The minimum level I will personally recommend is the 37 marker test. You may wish to avoid the 111 marker test for now - instead, you may want to use the money to order for a friend or to test the Paternal Line on your mother's side.

I do understand that the cost of the test can be an obstacle to people joining. Presently I am searching for generous individuals who may be willing to provide funds for our project. Should there be sponsors for our project in future, it will be used for testing individuals, or for purchasing test upgrades for existing project group members. The decision on who receives funding for such a test will be made carefully and solely for the benefit of the project.

The Family Tree DNA Facebook Page often gives out discount and promotion codes for new and existing users.

You may also wish to join the FTDNA's Facebook Page, where they often announce discounts and promotions for new and existing customers. In April, FTDNA had the following promotion for new customers:

Y-DNA 12 marker test @ $59 (usual price $99)
Y-DNA 37 marker test @ $129 (usual price $149)
mtDNA @ $59 (usual price $99)

Q8 How do I donate funds for the Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project?

Should you wish to contribute funds to the Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project, you may wish to mail a cheque to FTDNA and specify that it has to be placed in Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project. Alternatively, you can contribute by debiting Paypal or credit card via this link.

Scroll down to find the Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project.

The Project Admin will always consult the donor, before gifting an upgrade, or SNP test, etc.

Q9 How else can I contribute to the Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project?

The best way to contribute to the project is to assist in raising awareness on the project. Please invite your friends and relatives of Afghan and Pakistani heritage to be part of the project. You may feel free to share this blogsite in forums or on your own personal sites.

You may also contribute by sharing with us your own personal heritage or knowledge you have on different ethnic groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as Afghan and Pakistani communities worldwide. This may be especially useful for the Afghan or Pakistani diaspora who may not be very aware of their own heritage.

If you are interested in contributing by these or other means, please get in touch with the Project Admin via email to see how best you can contribute in these areas.

Q10 Are there any risks involved in taking a Y-DNA test? Will I know more about genetic-related diseases passed down from parent to child?

There are pros and cons to DNA testing, as it will prove or disprove a lineage claim. Should you have any doubts, please feel free to contact the Project Admin. Rest assured, the identity of a participant will never be revealed without the prior permission of the individual.

Apart from that, the cheek swab to sample one's DNA is a painless process that should take no more than half a minute.

The Y-DNA and mtDNA test results does not provide any information on genetic-related diseases passed down from parent to child. It is simply a test for genealogical purposes.

I hope this section have answered some questions you may have. Should you have additional queries, please do not hesitate to drop me an email. I give you my heartfelt thanks for being a part of this project.

Muhammad Khan
Volunteer Project Admin
The Afghan-Pakistani DNA Project