By comparing the DNA of 150 pairs of men who share British surnames, researchers have shown that about a quarter of pairs are linked genetically.
The link is via the Y chromosome--the part of our genetic material that confers maleness and is passed, like many surnames, from father to son. A simple correspondence between name and Y chromosome could in principle connect all men sharing a surname into one large family tree. However, in reality the link may be weak for a number of reasons--for example, the existence of multiple independent founders for many names, adoptions, name changes, and non-paternities. Nonetheless, previous research had suggested a genetic link for some particular names.
The new study, from Turi King, Stéphane Ballereau, and Mark Jobling from the University of Leicester and Kevin Schürer from the University of Essex, examines the issue more generally by analyzing many names and recruiting pairs randomly from the population. Pairs sharing surnames are on average much more likely to share Y chromosomes than pairs with different names, and the link becomes stronger as names become rarer. For example, there is no link for Smith, Jones, and Taylor, but a clear link for Attenborough, Widdowson, and Grewcock. Linked men share a common ancestor from less than 20 generations ago (about 1300 AD), when surnames were founded. The research has important implications for genealogists wishing to connect branches of their family trees, and also in forensic science, since it suggests that, given large databases of names and Y chromosome profiles, surname prediction from DNA alone may be feasible.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
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Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
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For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
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