Surnames in population genetics: pros and cons

Keywords: Ukrainian populations, markers, surnames


The article presents arguments regarding the perspective of studying the population using surnames as a tool of population genetic research. The model of a virtual polyallelic locus linked to the Y chromosome in peoples with patrilineal inheritance and linked to mtDNA in peoples with matrilineal inheritance is presented, which allows analyzing the distribution of surnames by means of population genetics. It is proved that the change of surnames at the time of marriage, false paternity and spelling errors do not affect the overall result of the calculations. Attention is drawn to the selective neutrality of surnames in relation to the natural environment and selectivity to the social environment. Examples of the advantages of surnames as population markers are given: quick obtaining of results, low financial cost of works compared to effectiveness, absence of statistical and ethical problems. The expediency of using surnames for the study of Ukrainian populations is proven by their compliance with the conditions put forward for markers. In conditions that make it impossible to collect actual material in populations and laboratory analysis of biological samples, working with lists of surnames is best suited for undergraduates and graduate students conducting research in anthropogenetics.


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