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Discrepancy in assessment of Richard III's Y-dna Haplogroup

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  • Discrepancy in assessment of Richard III's Y-dna Haplogroup

    Below is the link to the official overview of the DNA results of Richard III, and its notations pertaining to the living paternal issue descendants through Edward III (b. 1312) used for comparison. No paternal lineage of Richard III is known to exist. To compare the Y-Haplogroup of Richard III's newly recovered remains, researchers located and STR tested men descended paternally from John of Gaunt, also descended paternally from Edward III.

    John of Gaunt's putative male 'Somerset' line of descendants are tested as Y-Haplogroup R1b-U152.
    Richard III's putative remains are tested as Y-Haplogroup G-P287.

    The study authors seem to more prominently discuss a possibility of a NPE within the John of Gaunt / Somerset line, at some point prior to the living modern descendants. While this is certainly possible, and given the opportunities in each successive generation probably the most instinctively immediately route of investigation to pursue, it appears to me that the paternal descendancy of the direct male ancestor of Richard III was always considered potentially illegitimate. Richard Plantegenet (b. 1375) received no lands or mention in his fathers will, however was used as a tool in furthering treaty attempts with Spain at that time.

    The break I am suggesting is centered upon Isabella of Castile, wife of Edmund of Langley. Isabella of Castille was, well, Castillian - not English or Isles origin, and the Hg of the male lineage of her issue is extremely uncommon in the British Isles, likely even more so at that time in question. In modern North Spanish samples Hg 'G' of all variety would constitute roughly 8-10% of the male population. Isabella was utilized as a horse trader would pass along livestock, and was not entering a marriage of choice. She almost certainly received visitors from delegations sent from Spain, (as the entire purpose she was expended toward was diplomacy) as well she was likely accompanied by servants and aides also from Spain, during her life in Britain. She may not have been able to converse in the local language without the use of intermediary Latin, and would be expected to maintain and seek a retinue of Spanish speaking staff and visitors.

    I am suggesting that it may not be the John of Gaunt descendancy line that is in fact illegitimate or a NPE line, at least as pertains to paternal biological descendency from Edward III, as is offered as a possibility in the DNA study of Richard III. I strongly suspect that Richard III is quite likely a product of a illegitimate line that was legitimized and used for practical diplomatic horse trading reasons at the time. I suspect that the biological father of Isabella of Castille's son, who would become Richard Plantagenet (b. 1375), was likely a Spaniard/Castillian visiting or residing with her after her arranged marriage. This would be testable if a living paternal line descendant of Edward III or Edmund Duke of York, could be located and tested. I would be not at all suprised to find a match in such comparison to the John of Gaunt / Somerset R1b-U152 result, in such a comparison. In this case, there would never have a possibility of a match between the two lines.

    Four of the modern relatives were found to belong to Y-haplogroup R1b-U152 (x L2, Z36, Z56, M160, M126 and Z192)13, 14 with STR haplotypes being consistent with them comprising a single patrilinear group. One individual (Somerset 3) was found to belong to haplogroup I-M170 (x M253, M223) and therefore could not be a patrilinear relative of the other four within the time span considered, indicating that a false-paternity event had occurred within the last four generations.

    In contrast to the Y-haplotypes of the putative modern relatives, Skeleton 1 belongs to haplogroup G-P287, with a corresponding Y-STR haplotype. Thus, the putative modern patrilinear relatives of Richard III are not genetically related to Skeleton 1 through the male line over the time period considered. However, this is not surprising, given an estimated average false-paternity rate of ~1–2% (refs 12, 17, 18). The putative modern relatives and Richard III are related through a male relative (Edward III) four generations up from Richard III (Fig. 1a and Supplementary Fig. 2), and a false-paternity event could have happened in any of the 19 generations separating Richard III and the 5th Duke of Beaufort, on either branch of the genealogy descending from Edward III. Indeed, even with a conservative false-paternity rate18 (see Supplementary Methods) the chance of a false-paternity occuring in this number of generations is 16%.