Children from extramarital affairs not as common as we think, study shows

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Image: Flickr

That old joke about the milkman fathering many of a town’s children—it’s far from true, a new study reaffirms.

Researchers analyzed the Y chromosome and genealogy data of 513 pairs of men living in Belgium and the Netherlands. Based on the genealogy data, each pair shared a common paternal ancestor and therefore should have had identical Y chromosomes, unless there was a case of adultery, or what scientists call extra-pair paternity. The study confirmed that the vast majority—99 percent—were indeed genetically related through their paternal lineage, which the authors say buck some common assumptions.

“Together with many other paintings and historical references in theatre and literature to cuckoldry, you would assume that there was potentially a higher extra-pair paternity rate among aristocratic families in which there was a large age gap between husband and wife,” [researcher Maarten] Larmuseau tells Newsweek.

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The results showed that overall extra-pair paternity was low, only turning up in about 1 percent of the cases, though the result depended on socioeconomic status. Extra-pair paternity showed up in 6 percent of cases of urban families with low socioeconomic status living in densely populated cities in the 19th century.

Read full, original post: Children of Extramarital Affairs Were and Are Rare: Study

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