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Gwilym of the Many Conquests and the Smooth-Talking Gene

[PLEASE NOTE:  The Onion is a satirical site meant for ENTERTAINMENT and social commentary purposes only.  The following study is NOT real!]

The Onion, an infamous mock news site has a (surprisingly intelligent) article today entitled “7 Million People Direct Descendants Of Single Smooth-Talking Ancestor” about a “study” that has found that millions of people around the world have a genetic marker that links them to “a single smooth-talking common ancestor.”

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings brings the article to my attention (thank you Randy!):

The headline screams “7 Million People Direct Descendants of Smooth-Talking Ancestor” — see the article here in the Science and Technology section of The Onion. It sounds right up the genetic genealogy alley, doesn’t it? Megan, Blaine, Emily – why haven’t you written about this guy? Are 7 million descendants not enough?

Gwilym of Many Conquests

According to the article, after analyzing 4,000 samples from around the world, the Baltimore, Md. researchers announce that “the lineage appears to have originated with a highly virile ninth-century Welsh nobleman known as Gwilym of Many Conquests”:

“This is one of the largest diasporas known to have descended from a single progenitor,” said head researcher Lawrence Ghilcrest, adding that DNA evidence now corroborates stories about the Welshman that historians once dismissed as myth. “To have propagated his genetic material so effectively, and across so much territory, we can only infer Gwilym was quite the charmer.”

The article is clearly a reflection of several recent studies suggesting a link between prevalent traits or genetic markers and an ancient “prolific” ancestor.  The most famous example is a study that found that 8% of men in a large region of Asia have an identical recent Y-chromosomal lineage and suggested that these men could all be descendants of Genghis Khan because he could have been a very “successful” progenitor (see the 2003 study here and a related news story: “Genghis Khan DNA test attracts hordes of takers“).  Although the study did not declare this was in fact the case, many anti-genetic genealogy sources have used the study’s suggestion (and companies’ use of the suggestion) to criticize genetic ancestry testing.

Are You a Descendant of Gwilym?

The article notes that you, too, can be tested for the smooth-talking gene:

News of these findings have prompted many to undergo testing to determine if they too might be descended from this celebrated medieval Lothario. Reginald Sperino, a 36-year-old Henderson, NV waterbed salesman who tested positive for the sequence, said he is proud to come from such a noble line of sweet-talkers.  “I always thought there was something special about me,” Sperino said. “I mean, what can I—hey, there, beautiful—what can I say? It’s nice to finally have an explanation for my je ne sais quoi.”

Note: to avoid any confusion, for those unfamiliar with the Onion please recognize that this is for ENTERTAINMENT purposes only.  It is not a real study!

Posted via web from Blaine Bettinger’s Lifestream

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007

2 Comments

  1. I’m not easily fooled by sites like “The Onion”, but they had me searching on this one. LOL. Thanks for your post! *goes off to see how many friends I can trick with this….EG*

  2. I love the onion type stories while i was in college to take my mind off things that are real or school related. very nice

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