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Title: Recent human history : inferences from the Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA
Author: Abernethy, J. K.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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Disciplines such as palaeoanthropology, archaeology, anthropology, and history have been instrumental in formulating hypotheses relating to human history. Genetics has developed into a powerful tool for human population analysis hence it can complement information derived from other disciplines. To date, however, such studies of genetic history have predominantly focussed on prehistoric events. The aim of this thesis was to address several questions formulated from written sources and oral tradition relating to the recent history of populations in the British Isles and Africa. Y-chromosome markers and sequence information from the mitochondrial genome were employed. The male gene pool of the British Isles was investigated using a thorough sampling strategy, with respect to the impact of historical invaders, revealing geographic structuring within the Isles as a result of differential contact with these invaders. With these data for Britain available, the fidelity of (British) surname inheritance was investigated using the Y-chromosome, revealing evidence for the random and non-random adoption of surnames. The scope in Britain was narrowed to the small, but assumed diverse, metropolitan district of Greater London, to assess levels of Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA diversity in relation to the rest of Britain and Europe. Finally, the maternal history of the Lemba from Africa was investigated oral tradition and Y-chromosome evidence suggests a Semitic component. The evidence presented here precludes a Jewish maternal heritage, but a Middle Eastern component is possible. This thesis has shown that genetic information can be informative for elucidating the recent history of these populations, therefore confirming the value of including recent events within the scope of genetic history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available