Some interesting changed thinking on paternity and historical DNA in a nice article in the Science section of the New York Times today, entitled Fathered by the Mailman? It’s Mostly an Urban Legend:
It wasn’t until DNA sequencing emerged in the 1990s that paternity tests earned the legal system’s confidence. Labs were able to compare DNA markers in children to those of their purported fathers to see if they matched.
As the lab tests piled up, researchers collated the results and came to a startling conclusion: Ten percent to 30 percent of the tested men were not the biological fathers of their children.
Those figures were spread far and wide, ending up in many science books. But the problem with the lab data, Dr. Larmuseau said, was that it didn’t come from a random sample of people. The people who ordered the tests already had reason to doubt paternity.
Dr. Larmuseau and other scientists developed […]