Single nucleotide polymorphisms on the Y chromosome (Y-SNPs) have been widely used in the study of human migration patterns and evolution. Potential forensic applications of Y-SNPs include their use in predicting the ethnogeographic origin of the donor of a crime scene sample, or exclusion of suspects of sexual assaults (the evidence of which often comprises male/female mixtures and may involve multiple perpetrators), paternity testing, and identification of non- and half-siblings. In this study, we used a population of 118 African- and 125 European-Americans to evaluate 12 previously phylogenetically undefined Y-SNPs for their ability to further differentiate individuals who belong to the major African (E3a)- and European (R1b3, I)-derived haplogroups. Ten of these markers define seven new sub-clades (equivalent to E3a7a, E3a8, E3a8a, E3a8a1, R1b3h, R1b3i, and R1b3i1 using the Y Chromosome Consortium nomenclature) within haplogroups E and R. Interestingly, during the course of this study we evaluated M222, a sub-R1b3 marker rarely used, and found that this sub-haplogroup in effect defines the Y-STR Irish Modal Haplotype (IMH). The new bi-allelic markers described here are expected to find application in human evolutionary studies and forensic genetics. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.