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Am J Hum Genet. Feb 2006; 78(2): 334–338.
Published online Dec 8, 2005. doi:  10.1086/500055
PMCID: PMC1380239

A Y-Chromosome Signature of Hegemony in Gaelic Ireland

Abstract

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.


Articles from American Journal of Human Genetics are provided here courtesy of American Society of Human Genetics
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