Ever aspired to marry into royalty? Maybe you have your eyes fixed on the now depleted pool of eligible English princes? Or you have imagined that you are the lost offspring of an important European monarch? Well, perhaps you are. A study published in the journal Nature Genetics and covered in the Telegraph has revealed that half of the population of Western Europe is descended from a single Bronze Age chieftan. We can only speculate as to who this man was or how much power and technology he possessed, but, according to this new research, he fathered a dynasty of elite men and left an indelible mark on the population of the world.
The study used data harvested by the 10000 Genomes Project to sequence the differences between the Y chromosomes of over 1,200 men from populations around the world. The Y chromosome is only passed from father to son; thus, by tracing mutations in the Y chromosomes, researchers could compile a family tree.
Oddly, the research showed that within a few generations there was an explosive increase in the number of men carrying a certain kind of Y chromosome. Dr. Yali Xue of the Welcome Trust Sanger Institute observed that this phenomenon occurred only in males and that the many branches of the bush-like family tree they compiled originated at the same point.