Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Genetic Evidence Of Long-lived African Presence Within Britain

Date:
January 24, 2007
Source:
Wellcome Trust
Summary:
New research has identified the first genetic evidence of Africans having lived amongst "indigenous" British people for centuries. Their descendants, living across the UK today, were unaware of their black ancestry. The study found that one third of men with a rare Yorkshire surname carry a rare Y chromosome type previously found only amongst people of West African origin.

New research has identified the first genetic evidence of Africans having lived amongst "indigenous" British people for centuries. Their descendants, living across the UK today, were unaware of their black ancestry.

Related Articles


The University of Leicester study, funded by the Wellcome Trust and published today in the journal European Journal of Human Genetics, found that one third of men with a rare Yorkshire surname carry a rare Y chromosome type previously found only amongst people of West African origin.

The researchers, led by Professor Mark Jobling, of the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester, first spotted the rare Y chromosome type, known as hgA1, in one individual, Mr. X. This happened whilst PhD student Ms. Turi King was sampling a larger group in a study to explore the association between surnames and the Y chromosome, both inherited from father to son. Mr. X, a white Caucasian living in Leicester, was unaware of having any African ancestors.

"As you can imagine, we were pretty amazed to find this result in someone unaware of having any African roots," explains Professor Jobling, a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow. "The Y chromosome is passed down from father to son, so this suggested that Mr. X must have had African ancestry somewhere down the line. Our study suggests that this must have happened some time ago."

Although most of Britain's one million people who define themselves as "Black or Black British" owe their origins to immigration from the Caribbean and Africa from the mid-twentieth century onwards, in reality, there has been a long history of contact with Africa. Africans were first recorded in the north 1800 years ago, as Roman soldiers defending Hadrian's Wall.

To investigate the origins of hgA1 in Britain, the team recruited and studied a further eighteen males with the same surname as Mr. X. All but one were from the UK, with paternal parents and grandparents also born in Britain. Six, including one male in the US whose ancestors had migrated from England in 1894, were found to have the hgA1 chromosome.

Further genealogical research to identify a common ancestor for all seven X-surnamed males suggests that the hgA1 Y chromosome must have entered their lineage over 250 years ago. However, it is unclear whether the male ancestor was a first generation African immigrant or a European man carrying an African Y chromosome introduced into Britain some time earlier, or even whether the hgA1 Y chromosome goes back as far as the Roman occupation.

"This study shows that what it means to be British is complicated and always has been," says Professor Jobling. "Human migration history is clearly very complex, particularly for an island nation such as ours, and this study further debunks the idea that there are simple and distinct populations or 'races'."

In addition, Professor Jobling believes that the research may have implications for DNA profiling in criminal investigations.

"Forensic scientists use DNA analysis to predict a person's ethnic origins, for example from hair or blood samples found at a crime scene. Whilst they are very likely to predict the correct ethnicity by using wider analysis of DNA other than the Y chromosome, finding this remarkable African chromosome would certainly have them scratching their heads for a while."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wellcome Trust. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wellcome Trust. "First Genetic Evidence Of Long-lived African Presence Within Britain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070124072328.htm>.
Wellcome Trust. (2007, January 24). First Genetic Evidence Of Long-lived African Presence Within Britain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070124072328.htm
Wellcome Trust. "First Genetic Evidence Of Long-lived African Presence Within Britain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070124072328.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

The Best Tips to Makeover Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to boost your health this season, there are a few quick and easy steps to prompt you for success. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best tips to give your health a makeover this spring! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins