Navigation Links
Y chromosome and surname study challenges infidelity 'myth'
Date:2/11/2009

Our surnames and genetic information are often strongly connected, according to a study funded by the Wellcome Trust. The research, published this week in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, may help genealogists create more accurate family trees even when records are missing. It also suggests that the often quoted "one in ten" figure for children born through infidelity is unlikely to be true.

Dr Turi King and Professor Mark Jobling from the University of Leicester examined the Y chromosomes of over 1,600 unrelated men with forty surnames (including variations in spelling). Sons inherit both the Y chromosome and generally the surname from their fathers, unlike daughters, who do not carry this sex-specific chromosome and usually change their surname through marriage.

Hereditary surnames were introduced to Britain by the Normans at the time of the conquest. The practice of using hereditary surnames filtered down from Norman noble families to all classes of society so that by the fourteenth century people in many classes had surnames and by the sixteenth century it was rare not to have one.

Dr King and Professor Jobling found that men with rare surnames such as Grewcock, Wadsworth, Ketley and Ravenscroft tended to share Y chromosomes that were very similar, suggesting a common ancestor within the past 700 years. However, men with common surnames, such as Smith, were no more likely to have such a common ancestor than men chosen at random from the general population.

"Surnames such as Smith come from a person's trade and would have been adopted many times by unrelated people," explains Dr King. "Less common names, such as Swindlehurst, were more geographically-specific and possibly adopted by only one or two men, so we would expect people with these surnames to be more closely related."

One of the most familiar of the rarer names in the study was Attenborough. A random sample of Attenboroughs including derivations such as Attenborrow found that almost nine out of ten of these men share the same Y chromosome type.

"Attenboroughs essentially form one big family of distant relatives," says Dr King. "The Y chromosome type was the same even across spelling variants, which confirms that the spellings of names were formalised only relatively recently."

Dr King believes that these findings will help genealogists in their efforts to populate their family trees, particularly when parish records and other documents are incomplete. A genetic test of two people with a common surname would show whether they share a paternal ancestor.

The researchers also looked at whether the Y chromosome-surname link could provide information about historical rates of children born illegitimately. People with a rare surname are very likely to be related as the surname is likely to have been adopted by only one or two men initially, so anyone now sharing this surname but with a different Y chromosome to the majority is likely to have an ancestor born illegitimately.

"People often quote a figure of one in ten for the number of people born illegitimately," says Professor Jobling. "Our study shows that this is likely to be an exaggeration. The real figure is more likely to be less that one in twenty-five."

The study follows on from previous research from the two researchers into the link between surnames and the Y chromosome. A previous study showed that it may be possible to apply the research to forensic science, extrapolating from a DNA sample to identify likely surnames of suspects.


'/>"/>

Contact: Craig Brierley
c.brierley@wellcome.ac.uk
44-207-611-7329
Wellcome Trust
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mayo: Variants in gene on X chromosome associated with increased susceptibility to Alzheimers
2. How chromosomes meet in the dark -- Switch that turns on X chromosome matchmaking
3. Keeping chromosomes from cuddling up
4. Photosynthesizing bacteria with a day-night cycle contain rare chromosome
5. Cyanobacterium sequenced features rare linear chromosome
6. Aberrations in region of chromosome 1q21.1 associated with broad range of disorders in children
7. Exploding chromosomes fuel research about evolution of genetic storage
8. Y chromosome study sheds light on Athapaskan migration to southwest US
9. UGA researchers discover mechanism that explains how cancer enzyme winds up on ends of chromosomes
10. X chromosome exposed
11. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features classic approaches for analyzing chromosomes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/24/2017)... 2017 Janice Kephart , former ... Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the ... Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting ... can be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the ... refugee applications are suspended by until at least ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... 2017 According to a new market research report ... Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region ... expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... Forecasts by Product Type (EAC), Biometrics, Card-Based ... & Logistics, Government & Public Sector, Utilities / Energy ... Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, Business Organisation (BFSI), Hospitality & ... for a definitive report on the $27.9bn Access Control ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/22/2017)... ... 2017 , ... HOLLOWAY AMERICA, a stainless steel pressure vessel ... PACK EXPO International in Las Vegas from September 25 to 27. The annual ... year’s PACK EXPO at the Last Vegas Convention Center, HOLLOWAY representatives will be ...
(Date:9/22/2017)... , ... September 22, 2017 , ... ... leg ulcers is now being assessed in clinical trials in the United States. ... talk to your nurse or physician or find your nearest participating clinic here ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... , ... (PRWEB) September 21, 2017 , ... ... international scientific and technical congress to review the latest knowledge on these products, ... prestigious international speakers will discuss the impact of Biostimulants on Plant Nutrition, Abiotic ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... Today, BioPharma ... has announced the addition of 5 new courses to its prospectus. These include ... Regulation 21 CFR Part 11 on Electronic Records and Electronic Signatures (Part 11 ...
Breaking Biology Technology: