Surnames and Genetics

Abstract

Heritable surnames contain information about the relatedness of individuals within and between populations, and thus can be used to estimate human inbreeding and population structure. These estimates are affected adversely by the failure of underlying assumptions: many surnames have several founders, and the link between surname and inheritance can be broken by nonpaternity and other factors. Associations between patrilinearly inherited surnames and paternally inherited Y‚Äźchromosome haplotypes are now allowing the histories of names to be investigated using molecular genetic methods.

Keywords: surname; isonymy; nonpaternity; Y chromosome; haplotype

References

Bedoya G, Montoya P, Garcia J et al. (2006) Admixture dynamics in Hispanics: a shift in the nuclear genetic ancestry of a South American population isolate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103: 7234–7239.

Crow JF and Mange JF (1965) Measurement of inbreeding from the frequency of marriages between persons of the same surname. Eugenics Quarterly 12: 199–203.

Garza‐Chapa R, Rojas‐Alvarado MA and Cerda‐Flores RM (2000) Prevalence of NIDDM in Mexicans with paraphyletic and polyphyletic surnames. American Journal of Human Biology 12: 721–728.

King TE, Ballereau SJ, Schürer K and Jobling MA (2006) Genetic signatures of coancestry within surnames. Current Biology 16: 384–388.

Manni F, Toupance B, Sabbagh A and Heyer E (2005) New method for surname studies of ancient patrilineal population structures, and possible application to improvement of Y‐chromosome sampling. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 126: 214–228.

Mathias RA, Bickel CA, Beaty TH et al. (2000) A study of contemporary levels and temporal trends in inbreeding in the Tangier Island, Virginia, population using pedigree data and isonymy. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 112: 29–38.

McEvoy B and Bradley DG (2006) Y‐chromosomes and the extent of patrilineal ancestry in Irish surnames. Human Genetics 119: 212–219.

Rogers AR (1991) Doubts about isonymy. Human Biology 63: 663–668.

Rojas‐Alvarado MA and Garza‐Chapa R (1994) Relationships by isonymy between persons with monophyletic and polyphyletic surnames from the Monterrey metropolitan area, Mexico. Human Biology 66: 1021–1036.

Scapoli C, Mamolini E, Carrieri A, Rodriguez‐Larralde A and Barrai I (2007) Surnames in Western Europe: a comparison of the subcontinental populations through isonymy. Theoretical Population Biology 71: 37–48.

Further Reading

Colantonio SE, Lasker GW, Kaplan BA and Fuster V (2003) Use of surname models in human population biology: a review of recent developments. Human Biology 75: 785–807.

Jobling MA (2001) In the name of the father: surnames and genetics. Trends in Genetics 17: 353–357.

Jobling MA and Tyler‐Smith C (2003) The human Y chromosome: an evolutionary marker comes of age. Nature Reviews Genetics 4: 598–612.

King TE, Parkin EJ, Swinfield G et al. (2007) Africans in Yorkshire? The deepest‐rooting clade of the Y phylogeny within an English genealogy. European Journal of Human Genetics 15: 288–293.

Lasker GW (1985) Surnames and genetic structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Relethford JH (1988) Estimation of kinship and genetic distance from surnames. Human Biology 60: 475–492.

Shriver MD and Kittles RA (2004) Genetic ancestry and the search for personalized genetic histories. Nature Reviews Genetics 5: 611–618.

Sykes B and Irven C (2000) Surnames and the Y chromosome. American Journal of Human Genetics 66: 1417–1419.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Jobling, Mark A(Mar 2008) Surnames and Genetics. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005963.pub2]