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Title: Genetic signatures of coancestry within surnames
Authors: King, Turi E.
Ballereau, Stéphane J.
Schurer, K.
Jobling, Mark A.
First Published: 2006
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Current Biology, 2006, 16, pp. 384-388.
Abstract: Surnames are cultural markers of shared ancestry within human populations. The Y chromosome, like many surnames, is paternally inherited, so men sharing surnames might be expected to share similar Y chromosomes as a signature of coancestry. Such a relationship could be used to connect branches of family trees [1], to validate population genetic studies based on isonymy [2], and to predict surname from crime-scene samples in forensics [3]. However, the link may be weak or absent due to multiple independent founders for many names, adoptions, name-changes and non-paternities, and mutation of Y haplotypes. Here, rather than focusing on a single name [4], we take a general approach by seeking evidence for a link in a sample of 150 randomly ascertained pairs of males who each share a British surname. We show that sharing a surname significantly elevates the probability of sharing a Y-chromosomal haplotype, and that this probability increases as surname frequency decreases. Within our sample, we estimate that up to 24% of pairs share recent ancestry and that a large surname-based forensic database might contribute to the intelligence-led investigation of up to ~70 rapes and murders per year in the UK. This approach would be applicable to any society using patrilineal surnames of reasonable time-depth.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.cub.2005.12.048
ISSN: 0960-9822
eISSN: 1879-0445
Version: Post print
Status: Peer reviewed
Type: Article
Rights: Copyright 2006 Elsevier Ltd. Deposited with reference to the publisher's archiving policy available on the SHERPA/RoMEO website.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Genetics

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