Scientists Developed a 100-Year Family Drama Using DNA From Postcards


In 1885, Xaver, a young Austrian blacksmith, left home to make it big. After finding a new job abroad, Xaver, a foreigner, fell in love with Dinah, his 17-year-old Catholic daughter-in-law. He was fired. But that was only the beginning of the family drama.

Dinah ran away from home to live with Xaver and found a place to live and work in the house of Ron, a 30-year-old Jewish factory owner. In 1887 she gave birth to a son, Renc, who is believed to be Ron’s father. Renc adopted Jewish customs and was baptized in the Catholic Church.

But Dina and Xaver stayed together, and when Xaver got better at his job, the couple married in 1889. Xaver adopted Renc a year and a half later as his stepdaughter, and Ron offered Renc support. family. Xaver and Dinah had three more children, including a son named Arles. During World War II, Renc’s Jewish parents were kept secret, while he and his relatives lived in fear of being deported to concentration camps.

The secret of his fatherhood was kept secret for many years, but within the family the real identity of Renc’s father was passed on from generation to generation.

As soon as May 2017, when Cordula Haas, a biologist at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, was asked for a strange request. Renc and Arles’ children wanted to prove that Ron was really Renc’s real father. The couple handed out cheekbones from the descendants of Dina, Renc, and Arles to search for DNA, and – encouraged by Haas – other cards sent by Renc and Ron who were able to store their DNA in the remaining saliva used. sticking stamps.

Resolving relative cases is a well-known function in genetics, but the issue was much more complex than what Haas did. For a year and a half, he and his team tried to prove it, but to no avail. By October 2018, he had thrown in the towel. But then, in March 2020, the couple returned, this time with a larger inheritance. He also found some old cards that Arles had sent on a business trip in 1922.

The scientists compared the DNA found on the card stamps to the DNA found on postcards sent by Renc during World War I and post-war expeditions. He found the same Y chromosomal line, meaning that the two brothers had the same father. More than a century later, the couple ended their father’s drama: Xaver, not Ron, was Renc’s father.

With the permission of the family, Haas and his colleagues detailed their research in a paper published this month in magazines Forensic Science International. (All names have been changed, at the request of the family.) And while it may seem trivial to have a family secret, removing hundreds of centuries-old DNA from scratch — licking, old-fashioned brush hair. -was considered Great Next Next in genealogy. His promise rests on providing everyone with an opportunity to learn about their parents and loved ones who have died, to reunite with their families, and to reunite with their loved ones who have died.

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