Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Distant cousins

You can tell when it's a slow news day. The media drag out stories like "Presidents Obama Bush are 10th cousins, once removed." That's according to research bu the New England Historic Genealogical Society reported in 2008.
To be fair, the newspaper item continues to state "While family trees such as these throw up interesting histories and links, genetically they are meaningless. While children carry half the genes of their father, cousins as far removed as Obama and Bush would have no more genetic link than someone they bumped into at random in the street."
The article Relatedness in the post-genomic era: is it still useful? based on a simulation study, by Doug Speed, shows less than 0.1% of possible 10th cousins would have any shared DNA.
Furthermore, with a NPE rate of 1 - 3% per generation, say 3%  when the biological father is not that recorded on paper records, about 1 in 3 of the 10th cousin paper trail links would be false.
Are those stories better than a blank space?

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