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It is now possible to find a surname from DNA



It is now possible to find a surname from DNA

Scientists from the genetics department at the University of Leicester are developing a series of techniques that will allow police to find anyone’s surname from just a DNA sample.

University researcher Turi King has shown that in the UK, men with the same British surname tend to be genetically related. This fact could have implications in the fields of forensic science, genealogy, epidemiology and the history of surnames.

King did his study with about 2,500 men with 500 different last names. Of these, he studied the Y chromosome, which, like surnames, is passed from father to son in this country.

Thus, he discovered that between two men who share the same surname there is a 24% chance that both men have a common ancestor. If the surname is rare, this chance increases to 50%. These percentages suggest that given a large database of Y-chromosome names and profiles, surname prediction from DNA could be feasible in the not-too-distant future.

  Ratchet & Clank

More information at University of Leicester. Source: Trends 21