The Genographic Project, in partnership with Family Tree DNA, has just released a new Y-DNA Tree. Here is a news announcement regarding the new Y-DNA Tree posted to the Genographic Project website yesterday, April 25th.
Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) made the announcement with an e-mail to its customers. If you have taken a Y-DNA test with Family Tree in the past, and have a current account with FTDNA then you should have received this e-mail. Those who have taken the Y-DNA test can view their placement on the new Y-DNA Tree by logging into their account, selecting the Y-DNA tab, and then selecting the "Haplotree and SNPs" option. You will then be taken to a new page that has significantly more detail then the old Haplotree and SNPs page. You may also see that the letter-numeric designation (used to label SNPs) that is used to identify your haplogroup (or predicted haplogroup) has changed. For example, those who are genetic descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I., were, up until April 25th, designated as belonging to haplogroup E-M35.1. You will now see that you are categorized as belonging to haplogroup E-L117. Genetic descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, on the other hand, are still categorized as belonging to haplogroup I-M223, or I-P78, depending on the level of SNP testing that each of you have done (I-P78 is a sub-group of I-M223).
What does this change in designation mean for genetic descendants of Adam Brouwer? In the context of using Y-DNA testing (genetic genealogy) as an aid in determining whether or not you are a descendant of Adam Brouwer, and in determining which other Adam Brouwer descendants you are more closely related to, it means nothing. Think of it along the lines of "a rose by any other name is still a rose." All that has changed here is the name. Your relationship to others in the Adam Brouwer Group has not been changed.
I am not an expert, and I certainly was not among those making the decisions on how to reorganize and relabel the Y-DNA tree, but it appears to me, that what happened with regards to the labeling of haplogroup E-M35, is that a new SNP was found and was given the designation E-L117. The two, E-M35 and E-L117, are on the same "level" so to speak. In other words, E-L117 is not a sub-group of E-M35. They are different SNPs but neither appears to be further along the Y-DNA Tree than the other. But now, E-L117 has been chosen as the SNP to identify this haplogroup.
What has changed is that many more SNPs have been identified by the Genographic Project. In their news release they state that the number of branches in the Y-DNA Tree has grown from 667 to 1200. When you look at your new Haplotree and SNP page, you will see that "downstream" of your own haplogroup there are many new SNPs that have been identified and tests are available for them. You will also notice that when you go to your Haplotree and SNP page, FTDNA will recommend which SNP or SNPs you might test for in order to refine your haplogroup. For those in the Adam Brouwer group they are recommending a test for the SNPs labeled E-M78 and E-L142. The cost for the two tests is normally $78, but FTDNA is running a sale and the current sale price is $62.40 for the two (I'm not certain as to how long this sale will last). While testing for either, or both, of these two SNPs will refine your place on the Y-DNA Tree, there is no guarantee that the tests would shed any new light on genetic relationships within the Adam Brouwer Group. Perhaps if every member in the Group took the tests, it might, but even then it may be that all of the members will have the same result. It may be that any distinguishing SNP, within the Adam Brouwer Group, is further down the line. In other words, even further testing would be needed.
As a side note, FTDNA is also having a sale on the basic Y-DNA 37 marker test for new members. The sale price is $135.20, compared to the regular price of $169. If you are a male descendant of one of the many Brouwer, Brower, Brewer and Bruer families found worldwide, and have not yet included genetic genealogy in your family history research, now might be an advantageous time to join. Should you chose to join, please do so by going to the Brewer DNA Project webpage and selecting the Join Request tab to order your kit.
Update as of 4:30pm: Before ordering any new single SNP tests, please read the comment by Richard Brewer, Administrator of the Brewer DNA Project, below (just click on "comment"). And here is a link to the report mentioned by Richard Brewer in the comment, "The new 2014 Y-DNA haplotree has arrived."