24 October 2013

The number of other people's children is greatly exaggerated

Over the past 400 years, the percentage of "cuckolds" in Europe has not changed

Copper newsA study conducted by a group of Belgian geneticists showed that the prevailing ideas about the prevalence in the past centuries in Western Europe of a situation when deceived husbands, unsuspecting nothing, raise children who are biologically alien to them, are greatly exaggerated, and the situation in this area was not too different from the modern one.

The results of the work (Low historical rates of cuckoldry in a Western European human population traced by Y-chromosome and genealogical data), published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggest that family trees for the most part provide correct information from a genetic point of view, which can safely be used in sociobiological research.

Criminology specialist Maarten Larmuseau and his colleagues from the University of Leuven decided to test how evolutionarily justified in the animal world the reproductive strategy of finding a father for offspring on the side, outside the couple, was common among the population of Flanders in the past centuries. To do this, the authors conducted two experiments.

During the first of them, they analyzed genetic and genealogical information about one and a half thousand inhabitants of this region of Belgium, tracing their ancestry up to 1800. Some of the men, according to the pedigrees, had common ancestors, which was confirmed by genetic data.

During the second experiment, the authors drew attention to the male part of the population with French surnames, whose ancestors moved to Flanders from the north of France in the 1600s. It turned out that even after 400 years, the descendants of these people have clear differences on the Y chromosome from the more rooted local population.

The totality of the data obtained led the authors to assert that the level of "erroneous paternity" in the past centuries was relatively low, amounting to about 1-2 percent per generation. These figures, the authors note, are significantly lower than the estimates of 8-30 percent that appear in some historical studies, as well as representations derived from works of fiction, and are comparable to the indicators characteristic of the modern population of Western Europe, determined using genetic methods (1-3 percent).

"These are quite amazing results due to the lack of contraceptives at that time, which made us assume a significant prevalence of the situation when a man raises children genetically alien to him, believing that they are his," Larmuso said in an interview with FoxNews (Who's your daddy: Most men raising their own biological children). "Nevertheless, genealogical data is mostly correct and can be used in sociological or biological research."

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru24.10.2013

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