December 10, 2005

The Irish Modal Haplotype

A new paper reports a 17-microsatellite haplotype (14-12-25-11-14-13-9-11-12-15-12-12-13-16-11-10-11 defined over: DYS19, DYS388, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393, DYS434, DYS435, DYS436, DYS437, DYS438, DYS439, DYS389I, DYS389B (calculated by subtracting the DYS389I repeat score from that of DYS389II), DYS460, DYS461, and DYS462) which occurs at a frequency of 8.2% in Ireland, 16.9% in NW Ireland, and is significantly associated with surnames descended from a medieval Irish dynasty.

Am. J. Hum. Genet. (online early)

A Y-Chromosome Signature of Hegemony in Gaelic Ireland

Laoise T. Moore et al.

Seventeen-marker simple tandem repeat genetic analysis of Irish Y chromosomes reveals a previously unnoted modal haplotype that peaks in frequency in the northwestern part of the island. It shows a significant association with surnames purported to have descended from the most important and enduring dynasty of early medieval Ireland, the Uí Néill. This suggests that such phylogenetic predominance is a biological record of past hegemony and supports the veracity of semimythological early genealogies. The fact that about one in five males sampled in northwestern Ireland is likely a patrilineal descendent of a single early medieval ancestor is a powerful illustration of the potential link between prolificacy and power and of how Y-chromosome phylogeography can be influenced by social selection.


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