DNA tests are uncovering shocking levels of incest in family trees

Interesting read and not all that shocking to me, now that so many people have gotten their DNA tested. Even if you aren’t a The Atlantic subscriber, I think you can read five free articles per month per browser:


You can also use the Internet Archive, which makes most news articles available to non-subscribers. This article in particular can be found archived here.


Interesting. I thought The Atlantic would block it there.

I remember when my goto trick for reading paywalled material was to use Google Cache, which was just a right-click away in a menu choice of Google results. But that got retired/eliminated in 2021.

When Google Cache was retired, there were suggestions that Google results should somehow be linked to the Internet Archive but it is easy to see how there would be all sorts of complications.

Just another PS fun topic to know and tell. (It should have been included in our Peaceful Science Superbowl ad.)


You can ask your friend Stephen, who is a longtime subscriber and huge fan, to send you a gift.

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I once attended a presentation on the analysis of genetic data, and the presenter noted the “Non-Paternity Rate” in the general population about 5%. He then quipped, “Statistically speaking, about 1-in-20 of you are bastards.”

Data from such studies is considered highly sensitive due to the harm it could cause should it be revealed.


Has anyone been watching Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates? The show regularly finds that some supposed male ancestor of a celebrity was not the actual ancestor. So far, no incest has been uncovered, but maybe that’s not considered suitable for TV.


I’ve had a subscription for a couple of years now and my day usually starts with the Washington Post and that day’s email of suggested articles from The Atlantic. It’s a good thing I’m retired because I rarely get much done until an hour or so later.

“. . . and most of the rest of you aspire to be.”


We’re 7 deep in this thread and still no mention of Noah’s kids. :thinking:

. . . who must have been very concerned parents when their kids and grandkids came of age (and the oldest form of “the horizontal gene transfer” kicked in, if ya know what I mean.)

Of course, according to YEC lore from Ken Ham, Henry Morris et al, ol’ Noah and his kids and daughters-in-law had come from a very advanced civilization with amazing technology and scientific knowledge which most likely exceeded what we know today. Obviously, that would also mean that there were many outstanding universities tasked with multiplying this knowledge—and because people lived to such vast ages, someone like Noah (who was 500 years old when the flood came, according to Genesis 9:28-29) would surely have earned multiple PhDs in addition to the engineering degree which made ark construction possible. Assuming that at least one of Noah’s three sons had at least a basic undergraduate biology course behind him (surely a college degree was common in such an advanced society), they would have been all too aware of their descendants’ paucity of allele variation.

Yes, the reality of a genetic bottleneck for the human species was a major topic of discussion while Noah & Sons Rescue & Recolonization Ltd. applied themselves to new duties once the torrential rains began, racing to keep ahead of the food, water, and sanitation demands while also frantically raking off the ceilings and walls the all too prolific shelf-mushrooms spawned by the oppressively eye-stinging, acidic humidity .

[Not many people know this but Noah was also quite politically shrewd and managed to get both local and national government officials to cooperate with generous tax abatements and regional infrastructure credits. It was a major source of controversy until rain clouds brought a bigger one. Meanwhile, Noah’s bondholders would never see a return—and there would be no surviving heirs to sue on behalf of their estates. Yes, Noah was truly a genius.]

NOTE FOR VISITORS: My satire is directed at YEC lore and hyper-literalists in general. I’m not belittling Noah himself nor Genesis 6 through 8. (I respect a man like Noah who spent nearly 500 years focused on other projects and life goals before starting a family.)


Maybe you’ve solved the bottleneck problem for YECs! Shem was a genius and created a perfected CRISPR technology that he used to generate the allelic diversity we see today. Then this technology was lost at the Tower of Babel because of reasons.


I’m familiar with that theory but I believe it is based upon a misreading of an obscure variant manuscript. Shem didn’t create a perfected CRISPR. No, he was a very practical engineer who invented a perfected crisper:


Big difference.


Technically just 6, with your comment ending the streak at 7. :wink:

Adam & Eve were streakers of another sort until the Fall.

BAZINGA! :joy:

Maybe Noah was really all that old, just well kept?

That’s at least as good an explanation as any offered by AiG.

AiG claims that inbreeding was not a problem until after the Fall, but the Flood and Noah’s grandkids are definitely post-Fall, when it should have been a problem. Perhaps God allowed an exception …

… but in this context “Grandfather Clause” has an unfortunate double meaning. :face_with_diagonal_mouth:


Obviously, that’s ridiculous. For Noah to have been THAT well kept, he would have to have been stored in the freezer, not the crisper. I must insist that you adhere to the strict academic gravitas of this thread. After all, we are trained professionals here. (Kids, do not try this at home.)

Of course, my critique of your question constitutes a freezer burn.

[Wow. We haven’t even reached Peaceful Science Casual Friday yet.]


Yes, at this point the YEC world can always invoke the “It was a miracle” solution. That is the universally effective YECist equivalent of the “Goldshitt’s Universal Equation Solver: Multiply both sides of the equation by zero.”

[Is that math joke still in circulation? I can remember my physics teacher handing out one of those old-fashioned mimeograph class handouts in 1969 that had a collection of math, physics, and chemistry jokes of that sort. Yes, they were all of consistently high quality.]


If not, then it’s back in circulation now! :grin:


Somehow he convinced the transportation agency that his vast ship would be watertight. He must have made a convincing pitch.

I’m here all week. Tip your waitstaff.


Love it. This sub-thread is awash in diluvian humor.


Most human geneticists I know put the rate at 10-15%.


Most bonobo geneticists I know put the rate at 100%.


And most non-human geneticists haven’t expressed an opinion.