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IBE Researchers launch a project on genetics of Catalan surnames: Volunteers are recruited"

IBE Researchers launch a project on genetics of Catalan surnames: Volunteers are recruited"

Researchers at Institut de BIologia evolutiva with the support of Institut d'Estudis catalans: Francesc Calafell, David Comas, and Jaume Bertranpetit lead a project in which the Y chromosome of men carrying certian surnames will be analyzed. Given their transmission, surnames behave as alleles at a locus in the Y chromosome, but they also carry linguistic, social, and historic information. A list of 50 Catalan surnames has been selected, and 50 volunteer men for each of those surnames are being sought.

15.09.2011

 

Researchers at Institut de BIologia evolutiva with the support of Institut d'Estudis catalans: Francesc Calafell, David Comas, and Jaume Bertranpetit lead a project in which the Y chromosome of men carrying certian surnames will be analyzed.

Given their transmission, surnames behave as alleles at a locus in the Y chromosome, but they also carry linguistic, social, and historic information. A list of 50 Catalan surnames has been selected, and 50 volunteer men for each of those surnames are being sought.

Thes questions posed are:

1) How are surname frequency and genetic diversity related? The frequency of a surname may be the result of polyphiletism, namely, the fact that it may have been founded multiple times (think of Smith or Jones, John's son); in that case, surname frequency and its internal genetic diversity should be positively correlated. Alternatively, certain surnames may have become more common by natural selection: surnames may be markers of social status, which, quite often, determined survival and fertility.

2) Were the carriers of German patronymic surnames of a different genetic origin form the rest of the population? In Catalonia, as in France, a frequent source of surnames are former first names of Germanic origin (Albert, Robert, Grau,...). We will compare some of those to patronymic surnames of Latin origin (Oriol, Pons,...).

3) Is that also the case for ethnonym surnames? some Catalan surnames (Alemany, Danés, Anglès, Guasch) denote geographic origin (they mean German, Dane, English, Gascon, respectively). Such an origin can be traced as long as the Y gene pools of the region of origin and of Catalonia are different enough.

All information on the study at: http://cognoms.upf.edu/

Check Surnames included in the study

Press clippings:

15/09/2011: El punt

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