Charlemagne for everyone! Royal DNA all around

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Charlemagne (Credit: Wikipedia, via Carl Zimmer.)

The following is an editorial summary of a longer story. Find a link to the full story below.

A new study in PLoS Biology uses genetics to point out that all of Europe is essentially one big family, closely related for the past thousand years. Science writer Carl Zimmer uses this study as a launching point to re-examine the nature of human relatedness across history. He traces the history of the new study to a paper from Joseph Chang in 1999 which used mathematical models to map the web of human relatedness to the newest paper from Peter Ralph and Graham Coop, two biologists at the University of California, Davis. Zimmer writes:

Their results, published today in PLOS Biology, both confirm Chang’s mathematical approach and enrich it. Even within the past thousand years, Ralph and Coop found, people on opposite sides of the continent share a lot of segments in common–so many, in fact, that it’s statistically impossible for them to have gotten them all from a single ancestor. Instead, someone in Turkey and someone in England have to share a lot of ancestors. In fact, as Chang suspected, the only way to explain the DNA is to conclude that everyone who lived a thousand years ago who has any descendants today is an ancestor of every European. Charlemagne for everyone!

View the full story here: Charlemagne’s DNA and Our Universal Royalty

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